Asymmetric cell-matrix and biomechanical abnormalities in elastin insufficiency induced aortopathy

Varun K Krishnamurthy, Ashlie N Evans, Janaka P Wansapura, Hanna Osinska, Kelsey E Maddy, Stefanie V Biechler, Daria A Narmoneva, Richard L Goodwin, Robert B Hinton
Annals of Biomedical Engineering 2014, 42 (10): 2014-28
Aortopathy is characterized by vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) abnormalities and elastic fiber fragmentation. Elastin insufficient (Eln (+/-)) mice demonstrate latent aortopathy similar to human disease. We hypothesized that aortopathy manifests primarily in the aorto-pulmonary septal (APS) side of the thoracic aorta due to asymmetric cardiac neural crest (CNC) distribution. Anatomic (aortic root vs. ascending aorta) and molecular (APS vs. non-APS) regions of proximal aorta tissue were examined in adult and aged wild type (WT) and mutant (Eln (+/-)) mice. CNC, VSMCs, elastic fiber architecture, proteoglycan expression, morphometrics and biomechanical properties were examined using histology, 3D reconstruction, micropipette aspiration and in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the APS side of Eln (+/-) aorta, Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) is decreased while SM22 is increased. Elastic fiber architecture abnormalities are present in the Eln (+/-) aortic root and APS ascending aorta, and biglycan is increased in the aortic root while aggrecan is increased in the APS aorta. The Eln (+/-) ascending aorta is stiffer than the aortic root, the APS side is thicker and stiffer than the non-APS side, and significant differences in the individual aortic root sinuses are observed. Asymmetric structure-function abnormalities implicate regional CNC dysregulation in the development and progression of aortopathy.

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