The aim of this study is to understand Aging myocardium undergoes progressive cardiac hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis with diastolic and systolic dysfunction. Recent metabolomics studies shed light on amino acids in aging. The present study aimed to dissect how aging leads to elevated plasma levels of the essential amino acid phenylalanine (Phe) and how it may promote age-related cardiac dysfunction. We studied cardiac structure and function, together with Phe catabolism in wild-type (WT) and p21-/- mice (male; 2 to 24 months), the latter known to be protected from cellular senescence. To explore Phe’s effects on cellular senescence and ectopic Phe catabolism we treated cardiomyocytes (primary adult rat or human AC-16) with Phe. To establish a role for Phe in driving cardiac aging, WT male mice were treated twice a day with Phe (200 mg/kg) for a month. We also treated aged WT mice with tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4; 10 mg/kg), the essential cofactor for the Phe-degrading enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH), or restricted dietary Phe intake. The impact of senescence on hepatic Phe catabolism was explored in vitro in AML12 hepatocytes treated with Nutlin3a (a p53 activator), with or without p21-targeting siRNA or BH4, with quantification of PAH and tyrosine levels.

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