Molecular Mechanisms of Vascular Health: Insights From Vascular Aging and Calcification

Nadia R. Sutton, Rajeev Malhotra, Cynthia St. Hilaire, Elena Aikawa, Roger S. Blumenthal, Grace Gackenbach, Parag Goyal, Adam Johnson, Sagar U. Nigwekar, Catherine M. Shanahan, Dwight A. Towler, Brooke N. Wolford, Yabing Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death worldwide, especially beyond the age of 65 years, with the vast majority of morbidity and mortality due to myocardial infarction and stroke. Vascular pathology stems from a combination of genetic risk, environmental factors, and the biologic changes associated with aging. The pathogenesis underlying the development of vascular aging, and vascular calcification with aging, in particular, is still not fully understood. Accumulating data suggests that genetic risk, likely compounded by epigenetic modifications, environmental factors, including diabetes and chronic kidney disease, and the plasticity of vascular smooth muscle cells to acquire an osteogenic phenotype are major determinants of age-associated vascular calcification. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying genetic and modifiable risk factors in regulating age-associated vascular pathology may inspire strategies to promote healthy vascular aging. This article summarizes current knowledge of concepts and mechanisms of age-associated vascular disease, with an emphasis on vascular calcification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
JournalArteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
Issue number1
Early online date22 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • aging
  • cardiovascular disease
  • morbidity
  • mortality
  • risk factors


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