Circulating GDF-11 (Growth differentiation factor 11) levels decline during aging. GDF-11 is a member of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) family. It binds to the TGF-β receptors ALK4, ALK5, and ALK7 and activates the SMAD signaling pathway (Ho et al.). GDF-11 regulates the development of the olfactory system, retina, and pancreas, as well as anterior/posterior patterning of the axial skeleton (Lee & Lee). GDF-11 is an endocrine factor expressed in skeletal muscle, brain, and dental pulp (Kondás et al.). Studies in mice showed that GDF-11 regulates muscle and cardiac aging, and stimulates neurogenesis by remodeling blood vessels (Katsimpardi et al.; Loffredo et al.; Sinha et al.).
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