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American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology

Inhibition of the mTOR pathway in abdominal aortic aneurysm: implications of smooth muscle cell contractile phenotype, inflammation, and aneurysm expansion.


PMID 28213405

Abstract

The development of effective pharmacological treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) potentially offers great benefit to patients with preaneurysmal aortic dilation by slowing the expansion of aneurysms and reducing the need for surgery. To date, therapeutic targets for slowing aortic dilation have had low efficacy. Thus, in this study, we aim to elucidate possible mechanisms driving aneurysm progression to identify potential targets for pharmacological intervention. We demonstrate that mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is overactivated in aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs), which contributes to murine AAA. Rapamycin, a typical mTOR pathway inhibitor, dramatically limits the expansion of the abdominal aorta following intraluminal elastase perfusion. Furthermore, reduction of aortic diameter is achieved by inhibition of the mTOR pathway, which preserves and/or restores the contractile phenotype of SMCs and downregulates macrophage infiltration, matrix metalloproteinase expression, and inflammatory cytokine production. Taken together, these results highlight the important role of the mTOR cascade in aneurysm progression and the potential application of rapamycin as a therapeutic candidate for AAA.

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