Abstract

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death worldwide and aging is the primary risk factor for CVD. The development of vascular dysfunction, including endothelial dysfunction and stiffening of the large elastic arteries (i.e., the aorta and carotid arteries), contribute importantly to the age-related increase in CVD risk. Vascular aging is driven in large part by oxidative stress, which reduces bioavailability of nitric oxide and promotes alterations in the extracellular matrix. A key upstream driver of vascular oxidative stress is age-associated mitochondrial dysfunction. This review will focus on vascular mitochondria, mitochondrial dysregulation and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and discuss current evidence for prevention and treatment of vascular aging via lifestyle and pharmacological strategies that improve mitochondrial health. We will also identify promising areas and important considerations (‘research gaps’) for future investigation.

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