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β-Aminopropionitrile Induces Distinct Pathologies in the Ascending and Descending Thoracic Aortic Regions of Mice.

BACKGROUND: β-aminopropionitrile (BAPN) is a pharmacological inhibitor of LOX (lysyl oxidase) and LOXLs (LOX-like proteins). Administration of BAPN promotes aortopathies, although there is a paucity of data on experimental conditions to generate pathology. The objective of this study was to define experimental parameters and determine whether equivalent or variable aortopathies were generated throughout the aortic tree during BAPN administration in mice.

METHODS: BAPN was administered in drinking water for a period ranging from 1 to 12 weeks. The impacts of BAPN were first assessed with regard to dose, strain, age, and sex. BAPN-induced aortic pathological characterization was conducted using histology and immunostaining. To investigate the mechanistic basis of regional heterogeneity, the ascending and descending thoracic aortas were harvested after 1 week of BAPN administration before the appearance of overt pathology.

RESULTS: BAPN-induced aortic rupture predominantly occurred or originated in the descending thoracic aorta in young C57BL/6J or N mice. No apparent differences were found between male and female mice. For mice surviving 12 weeks of BAPN administration, profound dilatation was consistently observed in the ascending region, while there were more heterogeneous changes in the descending thoracic region. Pathological features were distinct between the ascending and descending thoracic regions. Aortic pathology in the ascending region was characterized by luminal dilatation and elastic fiber disruption throughout the media. The descending thoracic region frequently had dissections with false lumen formation, collagen deposition, and remodeling of the wall surrounding the false lumen. Cells surrounding the false lumen were predominantly positive for α-SMA (α-smooth muscle actin). One week of BAPN administration compromised contractile properties in both regions equivalently, and RNA sequencing did not show obvious differences between the 2 aortic regions in smooth muscle cell markers, cell proliferation markers, and extracellular components.

CONCLUSIONS: BAPN-induced pathologies show distinct, heterogeneous features within and between ascending and descending aortic regions in mice.

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