Age-Associated Dysregulation of Integrin Function in Vascular Smooth Muscle. Academic Article uri icon


  • Arterial aging results in a progressive reduction in elasticity of the vessel wall and an impaired ability of aged blood vessels to control local blood flow and pressure. Recently, a new concept has emerged that the stiffness and decreased contractility of vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells are important contributors to age-induced arterial dysfunction. This study investigated the hypothesis that aging alters integrin function in a matrix stiffness-dependent manner, which contributes to decreased VSM contractility in aged soleus muscle feed arteries (SFA). The effect of RGD-binding integrins on contractile function of cannulated SFA isolated from young (4months) and old (24months) Fischer 344 rats was assessed by measuring constrictor responses to norepinephrine, phenylephrine, and angiotensin II. Results indicated that constrictor responses in presence of RGD were impaired in old compared to young SFA. VSM cells isolated from young and old SFA were used for functional experiments using atomic force microscopy and high-resolution imaging. Aging was associated with a modulation of integrin 1 recruitment at cell-matrix adhesions that was matrix and substrate stiffness dependent. Our data showed that substrate stiffening drives altered integrin 1 expression in aging, while soft substrates abolish age-induced differences in overall integrin 1 expression. In addition, substrate stiffness and matrix composition contribute to the modulation of SM-actin cytoskeleton architecture with soft substrates reducing age effects. Our results provide new insights into age-induced structural changes at VSM cell level that translates to decreased functionality of aged resistance soleus feed arteries.

published proceedings

  • Front Physiol

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Ojha, K. R., Shin, S. Y., Padgham, S., Leon Olmedo, F., Guo, B., Han, G., Woodman, C., & Trache, A.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Ojha, Krishna Raj||Shin, Song Yi||Padgham, Samuel||Leon Olmedo, Frida||Guo, Bohong||Han, Gang||Woodman, Christopher||Trache, Andreea

publication date

  • January 2022