Because of global aging, the prevalence of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) continues to rise. Although HFpEF pathophysiology remains incompletely understood, endothelial inflammation is stated to play a central role. Cellular senescence is a process of cellular growth arrest linked with aging and inflammation. We used mice with accelerated aging to investigate the role of cellular senescence in HFpEF development.Methods and Results—
Senescence-accelerated mice (SAM, n=18) and control mice with normal senescence (n=15) were fed normal chow or a high-fat, high-salt diet (WD). Vascular and cardiac function was assessed at 8, 16, and 24 weeks of age. At 24 weeks, both SAM on WD (SAM-WD) and SAM on regular diet displayed endothelial dysfunction, as evidenced by impaired acetylcholine-induced relaxation of aortic segments and reduced basal nitric oxide. At week 24, SAM-WD had developed HFpEF, characterized by diastolic dysfunction, left ventricular hypertrophy, left atrial dilatation, and interstitial fibrosis. Also, exercise capacity was reduced and lung weight increased. Cardiovascular inflammation and senescence were assessed by immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining of hearts and aortas. SAM-WD showed increased endothelial inflammation (intercellular adhesion molecule 1 expression) and increased endothelial senescence (acetyl-p53/CD31 costaining). The latter correlated with diastolic function and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 expression.Conclusions—
SAM develop endothelial dysfunction. Adding a high-salt, high-fat diet accelerates endothelial senescence and instigates endothelial inflammation. This coincides with hemodynamic and structural changes typical of HFpEF. Targeting endothelial senescence could be a new therapeutic avenue in HFpEF.