mTOR signalling: the molecular interface connecting metabolic stress, aging and cardiovascular diseases.
The continuing increase in the prevalence of obesity and metabolic disorders such as type-II diabetes and an accelerating aging population globally will remain the major contributors to cardiovascular mortality and morbidity in the 21st century. It is well known that aging is highly associated with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Growing evidence also shows that obesity and metabolic diseases accelerate aging process. Studies in experimental animal models demonstrate similarity of metabolic and cardiovascular phenotypes in metabolic diseases and old age, e.g. insulin resistance, oxidative stress, chronic low grade inflammation, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac fibrosis, and heart failure, as well as vascular dysfunctions. Despite intensive research, the molecular mechanisms linking metabolic stress, aging, and ultimately cardiovascular diseases are still elusive. Although the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling is a well known regulator of metabolism and lifespan in model organisms, its central role in linking metabolic stress, aging and cardiovascular diseases is recently emerging. In this article, we review the evidence supporting the role of mTOR signalling as a molecular interface connecting metabolic stress, aging and cardiovascular diseases. The therapeutic potentials of targeting mTOR signalling to protect against metabolic and age-associated cardiovascular diseases are discussed. © 2012 The Authors. obesity reviews © 2012 International Association for the Study of Obesity.