21 December 2005
The abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) wall represents an extreme example of arterial remodeling with disturbed elastin, collagen and proteoglycan metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate enzymes involved in the degradation of glycosaminoglycan chains and core proteins of proteoglycans in the AAA wall. The study material consisted of wall samples from 10 AAA. Fragments of 5 normal abdominal aortas from organ donors were used as a control. The activity of endoglycosidases, exoglycosidases and sulfatases was measured using colorimetric methods. To assess matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), Western blot and zymography were performed. The activity of endoglycosidase degrading chondroitin-4-sulfate was lower in the AAA wall. Endoglycosidase degrading heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate, arylosulfatase B, as well as all the exoglycosidases assessed demonstrated higher activities in the AAA wall. Furthermore, increased expression of MMP1, MMP2 and MMP9 was also shown in the AAA wall. Zymography revealed decreased activity of pro-MMP2 and presence of pro-MMP9 in the AAA wall compared to the wall of normal aorta. Extensive changes in the activity of glycosaminoglycan-degrading enzymes and MMPs may influence the organization of the extracellular matrix network and lead to previously demonstrated changes in the proteoglycan and glycosaminoglycan content in the AAA wall.