Aging-induced collateral dysfunction: Impaired responsiveness of collaterals and susceptibility to apoptosis via dysfunctional eNOS signaling

Jinsong Wang, Xinzhi Peng, Roberta M. Lassance-Soares, Amir H. Najafi, Lee O. Alderman, Subeena Sood, Zhenyi Xue, Rosanna Chan, James E. Faber, Stephen E. Epstein, Mary Susan Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Despite positive animal studies, clinical angiogenesis trials have been disappointing, possibly due to risk factors present in humans but usually unexplored in animals. We recently demonstrated aging causes impaired collateral remodeling and collateral dropout; here, we investigate potential mechanisms responsible for these findings. Four-, 10-, and 18-month-C57BL/6J mice were subjected to femoral artery ligation; flow was measured using laser Doppler perfusion imaging. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and phosphorylated eNOS were measured in calf muscle. Apoptosis was assessed in endothelial (EC) and smooth muscle (SMC) cells isolated from young and old mice. Angiogenesis was measured using a Matrigel plug assay. Lethally irradiated young and old mice received bone marrow cells (BMC) from either young or old donors and were subjected to femoral artery ligation (FAL). BMC mobilization and homing were assessed. Flow recovery was impaired and less eNOS and phosphorylated eNOS was present in older vs. young mice (p < 0.001 and p = 0.015, respectively). ECs and SMCs from older mice were more sensitive to an apoptotic stimulus, but were rescued by NO-enhancing drugs. In older mice, angiogenesis (Matrigel plug assay) was impaired, as was mobilization and homing of BM progenitor cells following FAL. Although both mobilization and homing improved when older mice received BMC transplantation from young donors, flow recovery failed to improve. Aging impairs BMC mobilization and homing, collateral responsiveness to angiogenic stimuli, and increases EC and SMC susceptibility to apoptosis via dysfunctional eNOS signaling. The latter could contribute to impaired remodeling and collateral dropout. These finding identify potential obstacles to therapeutic interventions in elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-789
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of cardiovascular translational research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Angiogenesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Collateral
  • Progenitor cell
  • eNOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Genetics(clinical)


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