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Annu Rev Med. 2014;65:49-62. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-101712-174206. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysms: microRNAs, proteases, genetic associations.

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1
Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; email: lars.maegdefessel@ki.se.

Abstract

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) disease is a common, morbid, and highly lethal pathology. Extraordinary efforts have been launched to determine the molecular and pathophysiological characteristics of AAAs. Although surgery is highly effective in preventing death by rupture for larger AAAs, no guidance or preventive therapy is currently available for the >90% of patients whose aneurysms are below the surgical threshold. Predictive animal models of AAA as well as human pathological samples have revealed a complex circuit of AAA formation and progression. The proteolytic destruction of matrix components of the aorta by different proteases has been extensively studied over many years. Recently, a novel class of small noncoding RNAs, called microRNAs, was identified as "fine-tuners" of the translational output of target genes; they act by promoting mRNA degradation. Their therapeutic potential in limiting AAA development appears very intriguing. Further, current studies assessing genetic and heritable associations for AAA disease have provided great insight into its pathogenesis, potentially enabling us to better clinically manage affected patients.

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