Can we grow older in a healthier way?
Católica Biomedical Research Centre and Instituto de Medicina Molecular João Lobo Antunes, Portugal
Life expectancy in the developed countries has doubled in the last century thanks, to a large extent, to advances in vaccines, antibiotics and health services. However, this substantial increase in longevity is accompanied by an equally significant increase in diseases associated with ageing, including cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Healthy ageing is therefore one of the main challenges facing modern society today, and a priority for biomedical research.
Ageing is a complex biological process that involves a significant decline in organ physiology and function. Recent studies have cast light on the crucial role that blood vessels play in ageing. For example, ageing is associated with a decline in the density of the vascular system, and preventing this decline leads to healthier ageing. However, the mechanisms that explain the association between alterations in the vascular system, ageing of the body and the onset of age-related diseases remain poorly understood.
In this project, the researchers will study the role of endothelial cells, which line the interior of blood vessels, in healthy ageing. Indeed, they have already identified a protein in these cells that acts as a crucial regulator of both ageing and age-related diseases.
Endothelial Cells as rheostats for Age-Related Diseases