J Vasc Surg 2019 Mar 22;69(3):921-932.e3. Epub 2018 Sep 22.
Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China; Key Laboratory of Molecular Cardiovascular Science, Ministry of Education, Beijing, China.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether rapamycin inhibits the development of thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection (TAAD) in mice.
Methods: Three-week-old C57BL/6J male mice were fed a normal diet and randomized into a control group (n = 6), β-aminopropionitrile fumarate (BAPN) group (Gp A; n = 15), BAPN plus rapamycin (5 mg) group (Gp B; n = 8), and BAPN plus rapamycin (10 mg) group (Gp C; n = 8). Gp A, Gp B, and Gp C were administered BAPN (1 g/kg/d) for 4 weeks. One week after BAPN administration, Gp B and Gp C were treated with rapamycin (5 mg/kg/d or 10 mg/kg/d) through gavage for 21 days. Thoracic aortas were harvested for Western blot and immunofluorescence staining at day 14 and for morphologic and histologic analyses at day 28.
Results: BAPN treatment induced TAAD formation in mice. The incidence of TAAD in control, Gp A, Gp B, and Gp C mice was 0%, 80%, 25%, and 37.5%, respectively. Smaller thoracic aortic diameters (ascending aorta and arch) were observed in Gp B and Gp C mice than in Gp A mice (Gp B vs Gp A: ascending aorta, ex vivo, 1.07 ± 0.21 mm vs 1.80 ± 0.67 mm [P < .05]; aortic arch, ex vivo, 1.51 ± 0.40 mm vs 2.70 ± 1.06 mm [P < .05]; Gp C vs Gp A: ascending aortas, ex vivo, 1.10 ± 0.33 mm vs 1.80 ± 0.67 mm [P < .05]; aortic arch, ex vivo, 1.55 ± 0.56 mm vs 2.70 ± 1.06 mm [P < .05]). TAAD mice exhibited elastin fragmentation, abundant inflammatory cell infiltration, and significantly increased matrix metalloproteinase production in the aorta, and rapamycin treatment alleviated these changes. The protein levels of p-S6K and p-S6 in TAAD aortic tissues increased significantly, whereas they were suppressed by rapamycin.
Conclusions: Rapamycin suppressed TAAD formation, probably by inhibition of mechanistic target of rapamycin signaling and reduction of inflammatory cell infiltration and matrix metalloproteinase 9 production. Targeting of the mechanistic target of rapamycin signaling pathway using rapamycin may be a favorable modulation for the clinical treatment of TAAD.
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