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      Vascular Wall Remodeling in Patients with Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis and Williams Beuren Syndrome

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          Supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) and Williams Beuren syndrome (WBS) can be considered as inherited diseases affecting the whole arterial tree and causing narrowing of the vessels. It has been reported that abnormal deposition of elastin in arterial walls of patients with SVAS and WBS leads to increased proliferation of arterial smooth muscle cells (SMC), which result in the formation of hyperplastic intimal lesions. In this work, we conducted morphological and morphometrical analysis with stenotic aortas from patients suffering from SVAS and WBS and from healthy control subjects and demonstrated that the amount of elastic fibers and the loss of integrity of vascular elastic fibers in the aortas reflect similar changes in the skin of patients with SVAS or WBS, as reported in our previous work conducted on skin in these pathological states. On the other hand, we conducted investigations on metalloproteinases (MMP2, MMP9, MMP7) and their specific tissue inhibitors TIMP1 and TIMP2 to verify their possible involvement in the etiopathogeny of SVAS and WBS. We particularly evidenced an altered MMP9/TIMP1 balance in favor of matrix degradation which could facilitate SMC migration and neointimal hyperplasia. Our findings suggest that elastinolytic enzymes secreted by arterial SMC, possibly including matrilysin 1, are critical for the development of arterial lesions in SVAS and WBS and contribute to perpetuate arterial stenosis in either SVAS or WBS.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Increased expression of matrix metalloproteinases and matrix degrading activity in vulnerable regions of human atherosclerotic plaques.

           Z Galis,  P. Libby,  M Lark (1994)
          Dysregulated extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism may contribute to vascular remodeling during the development and complication of human atherosclerotic lesions. We investigated the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), a family of enzymes that degrade ECM components in human atherosclerotic plaques (n = 30) and in uninvolved arterial specimens (n = 11). We studied members of all three MMP classes (interstitial collagenase, MMP-1; gelatinases, MMP-2 and MMP-9; and stromelysin, MMP-3) and their endogenous inhibitors (TIMPs 1 and 2) by immunocytochemistry, zymography, and immunoprecipitation. Normal arteries stained uniformly for 72-kD gelatinase and TIMPs. In contrast, plaques' shoulders and regions of foam cell accumulation displayed locally increased expression of 92-kD gelatinase, stromelysin, and interstitial collagenase. However, the mere presence of MMP does not establish their catalytic capacity, as the zymogens lack activity, and TIMPs may block activated MMPs. All plaque extracts contained activated forms of gelatinases determined zymographically and by degradation of 3H-collagen type IV. To test directly whether atheromata actually contain active matrix-degrading enzymes in situ, we devised a method which allows the detection and microscopic localization of MMP enzymatic activity directly in tissue sections. In situ zymography revealed gelatinolytic and caseinolytic activity in frozen sections of atherosclerotic but not of uninvolved arterial tissues. The MMP inhibitors, EDTA and 1,10-phenanthroline, as well as recombinant TIMP-1, reduced these activities which colocalized with regions of increased immunoreactive MMP expression, i.e., the shoulders, core, and microvasculature of the plaques. Focal overexpression of activated MMP may promote destabilization and complication of atherosclerotic plaques and provide novel targets for therapeutic intervention.
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            Hemizygosity at the elastin locus in a developmental disorder, Williams syndrome.

            Williams syndrome (WS) is a developmental disorder affecting connective tissue and the central nervous system. A common feature of WS, supravalvular aortic stenosis, is also a distinct autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations in the elastin gene. In this study, we identified hemizygosity at the elastin locus using genetic analyses in four familial and five sporadic cases of WS. Fluorescent in situ hybridization and quantitative Southern analyses confirmed these findings, demonstrating inherited and de novo deletions of the elastin gene. These data indicate that deletions involving one elastin allele cause WS and implicate elastin hemizygosity in the pathogenesis of the disease.
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              Elastin is an essential determinant of arterial morphogenesis.

              Elastin, the main component of the extracellular matrix of arteries, was thought to have a purely structural role. Disruption of elastin was believed to lead to dissection of arteries, but we showed that mutations in one allele encoding elastin cause a human disease in which arteries are blocked, namely, supravalvular aortic stenosis. Here we define the role of elastin in arterial development and disease by generating mice that lack elastin. These mice die of an obstructive arterial disease, which results from subendothelial cell proliferation and reorganization of smooth muscle. These cellular changes are similar to those seen in atherosclerosis. However, lack of elastin is not associated with endothelial damage, thrombosis or inflammation, which occur in models of atherosclerosis. Haemodynamic stress is not associated with arterial obstruction in these mice either, as the disease still occurred in arteries that were isolated in organ culture and therefore not subject to haemodynamic stress. Disruption of elastin is enough to induce subendothelial proliferation of smooth muscle and may contribute to obstructive arterial disease. Thus, elastin has an unanticipated regulatory function during arterial development, controlling proliferation of smooth muscle and stabilizing arterial structure.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                June 2005
                03 June 2005
                : 42
                : 3
                : 190-201
                aLaboratoire de Physiopathologie des Tissus non Minéralisés, Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire, Université René Descartes, Montrouge, bDépartement de Génétique et Unité de recherches sur les Handicaps Génétiques de l’Enfant, INSERM U393, Paris, cService de Cardiologie Pédiatrique, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, Paris, dLaboratoire de Biochimie, Faculté de Pharmacie, Marseille, France
                85141 J Vasc Res 2005;42:190–201
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 2, References: 49, Pages: 12
                Research Paper


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