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Med Hypotheses. 2010 May;74(5):908-10. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.10.021. Epub 2009 Nov 6.

Apoptotic cell death and rupture of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital Rijeka, School of Medicine, Tome Strizica 3, Rijeka, Croatia.


The abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) development and expansion is characterized by an extracellular matrix degradation and widespread inflammation. In contrast, the processes that characterize the AAA rupture are not completely understood. The results obtained in animal and clinical studies have shown the importance of inflammation, proteolysis, and antioxidant mechanisms in the aortic degeneration and formation of AAA. We hypothesize that the rupture of the AAA could have a similar pathway like an atherosclerotic plaque rupture, and in both the cases the apoptotic cell death of smooth muscle cells could play a significant role. If the apoptotic cell death significantly contributes to the expansion and rupture of aneurysm, the hypothesis is that aggressive medical antiapoptotic treatment with high doses of appropriate drugs could decrease the apoptotic index of smooth muscle cells, reduce the aneurysm expansion and prevent rupture.

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