JUN 30, 2020 4:30 AM PDT

Investigating How Aging Affects Cardiac Health in Marmosets

WRITTEN BY: Jasper Cantrell

Age is something that scientists still struggle to understand. It seems to be built into the DNA and affects the human body. In particular, aging has a strong effect on cardiac health, and efforts to develop ways of understanding this interaction are advancing every day.

In biology, model systems are everything. Model systems are well-researched organisms that allow scientists to examine anything from organ systems to genetic mutations work. The plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the bacteria Escherichia coli, and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae are examples of model systems. For humans, macaques and marmosets have been used as the model system quite effectively in several fields.  

In an effort to help elucidate how aging affects cardiac health, a group from the Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Germany put forward an idea. Using marmosets, which have a relatively short lifespan, as a human model system, they would develop a protocol of using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe the effects of aging on cardiac health.

To conduct the MRI on marmosets, the team had to rely on a method called IntraGate Flash, which allowed them to get images with certain limitations. This method allowed them to get quantifiable images from most of the marmosets in the test population. An early observation they had was that marmosets did not have sex-linked heart sizes. This is not true for all primates and allowed the team to pool test data from both males and females for better results.

The other observation they made was the reduction of diastolic, or filling, and systolic, or pumping volumes of both ventricles of marmosets with increasing age. The ventricles are the actual blood-pumping portions of the heart. Oddly, common indicators of a weakening heart such as ejection fraction showed there was no loss of heart strength with age. The team hypothesized this could be due to a change in the myocardium’s, or heart muscle, density as marmosets aged.

All in all, the group successfully uses marmosets as a model system for examining heart health in an aging population. One issue they had was simply the lack of clear right ventricle images, which made much of their data concerning the right ventricle statistically insignificant. They also suspected the long Intragate Flash MRI process affected the quality of their MRI. Regardless, they managed to observe a possible change in myocardium density in the ventricles of aging marmosets using the MRI protocol they developed.

The team concluded, “Taking into account the cardiovascular similarities that share marmosets with humans and the recent achievements in genetic manipulation of these monkeys, these findings strongly support marmosets for the use as model system for age related cardiovascular diseases.”

Sources: Nature Scientific Reports, HCPLive
 

About the Author
  • Hey everyone! My name is Jasper and, considering I am pretty new here to Labroots, I figured I would introduce myself. I received my bachelor’s from the University of California at Riverside back in 2016. I started off my career a few years ago with a job at a University over in New York, before moving over into the industry. I'm happy to be writing content for Labroots, and I hope you enjoy it!
You May Also Like
JUL 12, 2020
Cardiology
A Beneficial Microbe Can Reduce the Risk of Artery Disease
JUL 12, 2020
A Beneficial Microbe Can Reduce the Risk of Artery Disease
Trillions of microbes call our bodies home, and the ones that live in the gut can have a powerful impact on human health ...
JUL 16, 2020
Cardiology
A New Drug Candidate to Combat Cardiac Fibrosis
JUL 16, 2020
A New Drug Candidate to Combat Cardiac Fibrosis
Medicine is undoubtedly reaching a golden age, as researchers expand diagnostic and therapeutic tools like never before. ...
AUG 27, 2020
Cardiology
Are Dry Mouth and Hypertension Connected?
AUG 27, 2020
Are Dry Mouth and Hypertension Connected?
Dry mouth is one of those things you sort of ignore until you can refill your water bottle. Maybe you should take a seco ...
OCT 14, 2020
Immunology
Happiness Linked to Heart Attack Risk
OCT 14, 2020
Happiness Linked to Heart Attack Risk
Asking patients questions about their personal lives could predict their future risk of a heart attack. A study, publish ...
NOV 03, 2020
Cardiology
A New Peptide Could Help Repair and Protect the Heart During Ischemia Reperfusion Injury
NOV 03, 2020
A New Peptide Could Help Repair and Protect the Heart During Ischemia Reperfusion Injury
Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in the world. Although we have many treatments against ...
NOV 03, 2020
Cardiology
The Right Diet Can Help Heart Health & Lower Inflammation
NOV 03, 2020
The Right Diet Can Help Heart Health & Lower Inflammation
Most people know that certain foods are better for our health than others. Some types of food can increase, while other ...
Loading Comments...