Studying age-related changes linked to heart disease

A heart is shown against a medical backdrop

Mutations to genes can happen at birth, which are called germline mutations, or later in life, known as somatic mutations. Through NHLBI-supported studies, scientists describe how they are studying the latter to further understand the development of heart disease among older adults. 
In a study published in Nature Aging, scientists describe age-related variations they observed through heart cell samples collected from 12 individuals, ranging from infancy to age 82. By studying changes that happen to aging heart cells, they aim to provide insight about how these changes overlap with cardiac function and may support insight into future therapies.   
Separate research in Science describes links between age-related mutations to the Y chromosome and cardiac-related changes, including a hardening of the heart and heart failure. (Most men are born with an X and Y chromosome, while most women have two X chromosomes.) By understanding how these somatic mutations, which are uncommon in middle-age but can affect at least 40% of older men, they hope to identify adults that may benefit from tailored therapies.