Advances in Vascular Medicine The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Vascular Aging across the Menopause Transition in Healthy Women Thu, 17 Jul 2014 11:17:14 +0000 Vascular aging, featuring endothelial dysfunction and large artery stiffening, is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). In women, vascular aging appears to be accelerated during the menopause transition, particularly around the late perimenopausal period, presumably related to declines in ovarian function and estrogen levels. The mechanisms underlying endothelial dysfunction and large artery stiffening with the menopause transition are not completely understood. Oxidative stress and the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α contribute to endothelial dysfunction and large artery stiffening in estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women. Habitual endurance exercise attenuates the age-related increase in large artery stiffness in estrogen-deficient postmenopausal women and can reverse arterial stiffening to premenopausal levels in estrogen-replete postmenopausal women. In contrast, estrogen status appears to play a key permissive role in the adaptive response of the endothelium to habitual endurance exercise in that endothelial improvements are absent in estrogen-deficient women but present in estrogen-replete women. We review here the current state of knowledge on the biological defects underlying vascular aging across the menopause transition, with particular focus on potential mechanisms, the role of habitual exercise in preserving vascular health, and key areas for future research. Kerrie L. Moreau and Kerry L. Hildreth Copyright © 2014 Kerrie L. Moreau and Kerry L. Hildreth. All rights reserved. Diverse Functions of Secretory Phospholipases A2 Tue, 15 Jul 2014 12:28:24 +0000 Phospholipase A2 enzymes (PLA2s) catalyze the hydrolysis of glycerophospholipids at their sn-2 position releasing free fatty acids and lysophospholipids. Mammalian PLA2s are classified into several categories of which important groups include secreted PLA2s (sPLA2s) and cytosolic PLA2s (cPLA2s) that are calcium-dependent for their catalytic activity and calcium-independent cytosolic PLA2s (iPLA2s). Platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolases (PAF-AHs), lysosomal PLA2s, and adipose-specific PLA2 also belong to the class of PLA2s. Generally, cPLA2 enzymes are believed to play a major role in the metabolism of arachidonic acid, the iPLA2 family to membrane homeostasis and energy metabolism, and the sPLA2 family to various biological processes. The focus of this review is on recent research developments in the sPLA2 field. sPLA2s are secreted enzymes with low molecular weight (with the exception of GIII sPLA2), Ca2+-requiring enzymes with a His-Asp catalytic dyad. Ten enzymatically active sPLA2s and one devoid of enzymatic activity have been identified in mammals. Some of these sPLA2s are potent in arachidonic acid release from cellular phospholipids for the biosynthesis of eicosanoids, especially during inflammation. Individual sPLA2 enzymes exhibit unique tissue and cellular localizations and specific enzymatic properties, suggesting their distinct biological roles. Recent studies indicate that sPLA2s are involved in diverse pathophysiological functions and for most part act nonredundantly. Preetha Shridas and Nancy R. Webb Copyright © 2014 Preetha Shridas and Nancy R. Webb. All rights reserved. Vascular Functions and Brain Integrity in Midlife: Effects of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome Tue, 24 Jun 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Intact cognitive function is the best predictor of quality of life and functional ability in older age. Thus, preventing cognitive decline is central to any effort to guarantee successful aging for our growing population of elderly. The purpose of the work discussed in this outlook paper is to bridge knowledge from basic and clinical neuroscience with the aim of improving how we understand, predict, and treat age- and disease-related cognitive impairment. Over the past six years, our research team has focused on intermediate neuroimaging phenotypes of brain vulnerability in midlife and isolating the underlying physiological mechanisms. The ultimate goal of this work was to pave the road for the development of early interventions to enhance cognitive function and preserve brain integrity throughout the lifespan. Andreana P. Haley Copyright © 2014 Andreana P. Haley. All rights reserved.