Vascular diseases, such as myocardial infarction and cerebral infarction, are most commonly caused by atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include lifestyle and aging. It has been reported that lifespan could be extended in mice by targeting senescent cells, which led to the suppression of aging-related diseases, such as vascular diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the contribution of aging to vascular diseases are still not well understood. Several types of cells, such as vascular (endothelial cell), vascular-associated (smooth muscle cell and fibroblast) and inflammatory cells, are involved in plaque formation, plaque rupture and thrombus formation, which result in atherosclerosis. Gangliosides, a group of glycosphingolipids, are expressed on the surface of vascular, vascular-associated and inflammatory cells, where they play functional roles. Clarifying the role of gangliosides in atherosclerosis and their relationship with aging is fundamental to develop novel prevention and treatment methods for vascular diseases based on targeting gangliosides. In this review, we highlight the involvement and possible contribution of gangliosides to vascular diseases and further discuss their relationship with aging.
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