A new study:
Peripheral artery disease (PAD), defined as reduced blood flow to the lower limbs, is a serious disorder that can lead to loss of function in the lower extremities and even loss of limbs. One of the main risk factors for PAD is age, with up to 25% of adults over the age of 55 and up to 40% over the age of 80 presenting with some form of the disease. While age is the largest risk factor for PAD, other risk factors include atherosclerosis, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes. Furthermore, previous studies have suggested that the incidence of PAD is significantly increased in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Attenuation of mTOR with rapamycin significantly improves cerebral blood flow and heart function in aged rodents as well as in mouse models of atherosclerosis, atherosclerosis-driven cognitive impairment, and AD. In this study, we show that rapamycin treatment improves peripheral blood flow in aged mice and in mouse models of atherosclerosis and AD. Inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin ameliorates deficits in baseline hind paw perfusion in aged mice and restores levels of blood flow to levels indistinguishable from those of young controls. Furthermore, rapamycin treatment ameliorates peripheral blood flow deficits in mouse models of atherosclerosis and AD. These data indicate that mTOR is causally involved in the reduction of blood flow to lower limbs associated with aging, atherosclerosis, and AD-like progression in model mice. Rapamycin or other mTOR inhibitors may have potential as interventions to treat peripheral artery disease and other peripheral circulation-related conditions.
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