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Age-Dependent Transcriptional Alterations in Cardiac Endothelial Cells
Physiological Genomics  (IF3.107),  Pub Date : 2021-06-07, DOI: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00037.2021
Uchenna Emechebe, Jonathan William Nelson, Nabil J. Alkayed, Sanjiv Kaul, Andrew C Adey, Anthony Paul Barnes

Aging is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Despite the fact that endothelial cells play critical roles in cardiovascular function and disease, the molecular impact of aging on this cell population in many organ systems remains unknown. In this study, we sought to determine age-associated transcriptional alterations in cardiac endothelial cells. Highly enriched populations of endothelial cells (ECs) isolated from the heart, brain and kidney of young (3 months) and aged (24 months) C57/BL6 mice were profiled for RNA expression via bulk RNA sequencing. Approximately 700 cardiac endothelial transcripts significantly differ by age. Gene set enrichment analysis indicated similar patterns for cellular pathway perturbations. Receptor-ligand comparisons indicated parallel alterations in age-affected circulating factors and cardiac endothelial-expressed receptors. Single-cell RNA-seq analysis identified 9 distinct endothelial cell subtypes in the heart with an age-associated population shift observed for the Aplnr-enriched endothelial cell clusters. Gene and pathway enrichment analyses show that age-related transcriptional response of cardiac endothelial cells is distinct from that of endothelial cells derived from the brain or kidney vascular bed. Furthermore, single-cell analysis identified 9 distinct EC subtypes, and shows that the Aplnr-enriched subtype is reduced with age in mouse heart. Finally, we identify age-dysregulated genes in specific aged cardiac endothelial subtypes.