Rewinding the clock on aging blood vessels

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As we age, the tiniest blood vessels in our bodies wither and die, reducing the blood

flow to organs and tissues.

Vascular aging causes many diseases -- cardiovascular, neurological, muscle wasting, frailty, and

even aging.

Here at Harvard Medical School, we've reversed the process in mice, setting the stage for

radical new therapies to help people.

The new study has unraveled the cascade of interactions between blood vessels and muscles.

Endothelial cells, which line the walls of blood vessels, are essential for the health

and growth of the vessels.

And as endothelial cells age, blood vessels begin to atrophy and die.

Blood flow to many parts of the body diminishes, organs and tissues begin to function less


Blood vessel demise hits muscles especially hard, because muscles rely on a robust blood

supply for their function.

This process can be slowed down with regular exercise, but only up to a point.

Over time, even exercise fails to stave off blood vessel demise and muscle loss.

The new findings have cracked the mystery behind this process.

As our blood vessels age, they become deaf to to the signals from exercise muscles.

This acutally leads to the muscles shrinking as we get older, and therefore we're less

able to exercise and grow new blood vessels.

A vicious cycle indeed.

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