Old blood from heterochronic parabionts accelerates vascular aging in young mice: transcriptomic signature of pathologic smooth muscle remodeling

Tamas Kiss, Ádám Nyúl-Tóth, Rafal Gulej, Stefano Tarantini, Tamas Csipo, Peter Mukli, Anna Ungvari, Priya Balasubramanian, Andriy Yabluchanskiy, Zoltan Benyo, Shannon M. Conley, Jonathan D. Wren, Lori Garman, Derek M. Huffman, Anna Csiszar, Zoltan Ungvari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Vascular aging has a central role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases contributing to increased mortality of older adults. There is increasing evidence that, in addition to the documented role of cell-autonomous mechanisms of aging, cell-nonautonomous mechanisms also play a critical role in the regulation of vascular aging processes. Our recent transcriptomic studies (Kiss T. et al. Geroscience. 2020;42(2):727–748) demonstrated that circulating anti-geronic factors from young blood promote vascular rejuvenation in aged mice. The present study was designed to expand upon the results of this study by testing the hypothesis that circulating pro-geronic factors also contribute to the genesis of vascular aging phenotypes. To test this hypothesis, through heterochronic parabiosis, we determined the extent to which shifts in the vascular transcriptome (RNA-seq) are modulated by the old systemic environment. We reanalyzed existing RNA-seq data, comparing the transcriptome in the aorta arch samples isolated from isochronic parabiont aged (20-month-old) C57BL/6 mice [A–(A); parabiosis for 8 weeks] and young isochronic parabiont (6-month-old) mice [Y–(Y)] and also assessing transcriptomic changes in the aortic arch in young (6-month-old) parabiont mice [Y–(A); heterochronic parabiosis for 8 weeks] induced by the presence of old blood derived from aged (20-month-old) parabionts. We identified 528 concordant genes whose expression levels differed in the aged phenotype and were shifted towards the aged phenotype by the presence of old blood in young Y–(A) animals. Among them, the expression of 221 concordant genes was unaffected by the presence of young blood in A–(Y) mice. GO enrichment analysis suggests that old blood-regulated genes may contribute to pathologic vascular remodeling. IPA Upstream Regulator analysis (performed to identify upstream transcriptional regulators that may contribute to the observed transcriptomic changes) suggests that the mechanism of action of pro-geronic factors present in old blood may include inhibition of pathways mediated by SRF (serum response factor), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and VEGF-A. In conclusion, relatively short-term exposure to old blood can accelerate vascular aging processes. Our findings provide additional evidence supporting the significant plasticity of vascular aging and the existence of circulating pro-geronic factors mediating pathological remodeling of the vascular smooth muscle cells and the extracellular matrix.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-981
Number of pages29
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Aging
  • Aneurysm
  • Aorta
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Heterochronic parabiosis
  • Transcriptome
  • Vascular aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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