Ischemic preconditioning in the younger and aged heart

Pasquale Abete, Gianluca Testa, Francesco Cacciatore, David Della-Morte, Gianluigi Galizia, Assunta Langellotto, Franco Rengo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Ischemic preconditioning is the effect of brief ischemic episodes which protect the heart from the following more prolonged ischemic episode. This mechanism is effective in younger but not in aged heart. The age-related reduction of ischemic preconditioning has been demonstrated in experimental models and in elderly patients. Preinfarction angina, a clinical equivalent of ischemic preconditioning, reduces mortality in adult but not in elderly patients with acute myocardial infarction. Physical activity or caloric restriction is partially capable to preserve the cardioprotective effect of ischemic preconditioning in the aging heart. More importantly, physical activity and caloric restriction in tandem action completely preserve the protective mechanism of ischemic preconditioning. Accordingly, the protective mechanism of preinfarction angina is preserved in elderly patients with a high grade of physical activity or a low body-mass index. Thus, both physical activity and caloric restriction are confirmed as powerful anti-aging interventions capable to restore age-dependent reduction of a critical endogenous protective mechanism such as ischemic preconditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-148
Number of pages11
JournalAging and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011


  • Aged
  • Caloric restriction
  • Heart
  • Ischemia
  • Preconditioning
  • Younger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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