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Papers of the Week

2022 Sep 21

Int J Mol Sci



Role of Extracellular Matrix and Inflammation in Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.


Stepien KL, Bajdak-Rusinek K, Fus-Kujawa A, Kuczmik W, Gawron K
Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Sep 21; 23(19).
PMID: 36232377.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is one of the most dangerous cardiovascular diseases, occurring mainly in men over the age of 55 years. As it is asymptomatic, patients are diagnosed very late, usually when they suffer pain in the abdominal cavity. The late detection of AAA contributes to the high mortality rate. Many environmental, genetic, and molecular factors contribute to the development and subsequent rupture of AAA. Inflammation, apoptosis of smooth muscle cells, and degradation of the extracellular matrix in the AAA wall are believed to be the major molecular processes underlying AAA formation. Until now, no pharmacological treatment has been implemented to prevent the formation of AAA or to cure the disease. Therefore, it is important that patients are diagnosed at a very early stage of the disease. Biomarkers contribute to the assessment of the concentration level, which will help to determine the level and rate of AAA development. The potential biomarkers today include homocysteine, cathepsins, osteopontin, and osteoprotegerin. In this review, we describe the major aspects of molecular processes that take place in the aortic wall during AAA formation. In addition, biomarkers, the monitoring of which will contribute to the prompt diagnosis of AAA patients over the age of 55 years, are described.