Unifying mechanisms for the consequences of aging and chronic diabetes are coming to light with the identification that common to both settings is the production and accumulation of the largely irreversible Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs). AGEs impart multiple consequences in the tissues; a key means by which they exert maladaptive effects is via their interaction with and activation of their chief cell surface receptor, Receptor for AGE or RAGE. Although the time course, rate and extent of AGE generation and accumulation in diabetes and aging may be distinct, unifying outcomes of the ligand-RAGE interaction in the vasculature and heart are linked to upregulation of inflammatory and tissue-destructive mechanisms. Consistent with these concepts, administration of the ligand-binding decoy of RAGE, soluble or sRAGE, suppresses early initiation and progression of atherosclerosis in diabetic mice; suppresses exaggerated neointimal expansion consequent to arterial injury; and mitigates the adverse impact of ischemia/reperfusion injury in the heart. Importantly, the RAGE ligand repertoire upregulated in these settings is not limited to AGEs. The key finding that RAGE was a multi-ligand receptor unified the concept that in diabetes and aging, innate and adaptive inflammatory mechanisms contribute to the pathogenesis of tissue injury. We conclude that antagonism of RAGE may reflect a novel and therapeutically logical and safe target in cardiovascular stress induced by aging and chronic diabetes.
Keywords: Atherosclerosis, Acute Arterial Injury, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, RAGE Gene Polymorphisms
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