Aging, the main risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), is becoming progressively more prevalent in our societies. A better understanding of how aging promotes CVD is therefore urgently needed to develop new strategies to reduce disease burden. Atherosclerosis and heart failure contribute significantly to age-associated CVD-related morbimortality. CVD and aging are both accelerated in patients suffering from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS), a rare genetic disorder caused by the prelamin A mutant progerin. Progerin causes extensive atherosclerosis and cardiac electrophysiological alterations that invariably lead to premature aging and death. This review summarizes the main structural and functional alterations to the cardiovascular system during physiological and premature aging and discusses the mechanisms underlying exaggerated CVD and aging induced by prelamin A and progerin. Because both proteins are expressed in normally aging non-HGPS individuals, and most hallmarks of normal aging occur in progeria, research on HGPS can identify mechanisms underlying physiological aging.


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