The mTOR Signaling Pathway in Cardiac Aging

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is one of the most important signaling pathways that regulate nutrient sensing, cell growth, metabolism, and aging. The mTOR pathway, particularly mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), has been shown to control aging, lifespan, and healthspan through the regulation of protein synthesis, autophagy, mitochondrial function, and metabolic health. The mTOR pathway also plays critical roles in the heart, from cardiac development, growth and maturation, and maintenance of cardiac homeostasis. Hyperactivation of mTORC1 signaling is well documented in aging and many age-related pathologies, including age-related cardiac dysfunction and heart failure. Suppression of mTORC1 by calorie restriction or rapamycin not only extends lifespan but also restores youthful phenotypes in the heart. In this article, we review model organisms of cardiac aging and highlight recent advances in the impact of the mTORC1 pathway on organismal and cardiac aging, particularly in Drosophila and mice. We focus on the downstream signaling pathways S6 kinase and 4EBP1, which regulates protein synthesis, as well as ULK1 and its related pathway that regulates autophagy. The interaction with mTOR complex 2 (mTORC2) and its potential role in cardiac aging are also discussed.

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