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Trends Mol Med. 2008 Dec;14(12):522-9. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2008.09.008. Epub 2008 Nov 6.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms: an autoimmune disease?

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Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK.


Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) are a multifactorial degenerative vascular disorder. One of the defining features of the pathophysiology of aneurysmal disease is inflammation. Recent developments in vascular and molecular cell biology have increased our knowledge on the role of the adaptive and innate immune systems in the initiation and propagation of the inflammatory response in aortic tissue. AAAs share many features of autoimmune disease, including genetic predisposition, organ specificity and chronic inflammation. Here, this evidence is used to propose that the chronic inflammation observed in AAAs is a consequence of a dysregulated autoimmune response against autologous components of the aortic wall that persists inappropriately. Identification of the molecular and cellular targets involved in AAA formation will allow the development of therapeutic agents for the treatment of AAA.

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