Background: Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed by the reaction of sugars and NH2 groups of lysine and arginine residues and have been shown to accumulate in tissues, including the heart, with normal ageing. The interaction of AGEs with their receptors is known to cause changes in cell function, leading, for example, to the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and free radicals. Objective: This study investigated the gene expression of the five known AGE receptors: AGE-R1, AGE-R2, AGE-R3, the scavenger receptor II, and the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) in human heart tissue. Methods: Tissue samples were taken from the right cardiac auricles from three patient groups: children (2.4 ± 1.1 years), adults (45.3 ± 0.8 years) and elderly subjects (76.4 ± 0.4 years). Analysis of gene expression of the five AGE receptors was performed using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and 18S mRNA levels as loading controls. Results: Our results show an age-dependent upregulation of the genes for AGE-R3 and the scavenger receptor II, but a downregulation for RAGE and no significant differences for AGE-R1 and AGE-R2. Conclusion: This study supports a pathophysiological function for AGE receptors such as AGE-R3 and RAGE in the ageing heart.

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