Mechanical and Pharmacological Approaches to Investigate the Pathogenesis of Marfan Syndrome in the Abdominal Aorta

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Abstract

Background

Occurrence of disease complications in the abdominal aorta in Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding fibrillin-1, is relatively rare. We hypothesized that Marfan syndrome could affect the structure, vasomotor function and mechanical property of the abdominal aorta.

Methods and Results

Abdominal aorta from mice at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months of age, heterozygous for the Fbn1 allele encoding a cysteine substitution (Fbn1C1039G/+, Marfan mice, n = 50), were compared with those from age-matched control littermates (n = 50). Marfan abdominal aorta demonstrated pronounced elastic fiber degradation and disorganization, concomitant with an increased aortic stiffness during aging. In the isometric force measurement, vasoconstriction in response to membrane depolarization or phenylephrine stimulation was similar in both Marfan and control abdominal aorta. However, Marfan abdominal aorta was less sensitive to the inhibition of the phenylephrine-induced contraction by indomethacin and SQ-29548, during which the release of thromboxane A2 was one half of that of the controls. Nevertheless, the protein expression of cyclooxygenase-1 and cyclooxygenase-2 detected by Western immunoblotting was not different between the 2 strains.

Conclusions

We demonstrated that Marfan syndrome affected abdominal aorta with respect to matrix elastic fiber organization, aortic stiffness and release of thromboxane A2.

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