Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the most serious health problem in the world, displaying high rates of morbidity and mortality. One of the main risk factors for CVDs is age. Indeed, several mechanisms are at play during aging, determining the functional decline of the cardiovascular system. Aging cells and tissues are characterized by diminished autophagy, causing the accumulation of damaged proteins and mitochondria, as well as by increased levels of oxidative stress, apoptosis, senescence and inflammation. These processes can induce a rapid deterioration of cellular quality-control systems. However, the molecular mechanisms of age-associated CVDs are only partially known, hampering the development of novel therapeutic strategies. Evidence has emerged indicating that noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), such as long ncRNAs (lncRNAs) and micro RNAs (miRNAs), are implicated in most patho-physiological mechanisms. Specifically, lncRNAs can bind miRNAs and act as competing endogenous-RNAs (ceRNAs), therefore modulating the levels of the mRNAs targeted by the sponged miRNA. These complex lncRNA/miRNA/mRNA networks, by regulating autophagy, apoptosis, necrosis, senescence and inflammation, play a crucial role in the development of age-dependent CVDs. In this review, the emerging knowledge on lncRNA/miRNA/mRNA networks will be summarized and the way in which they influence age-related CVDs development will be discussed.
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