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Review

Insights on the Pathogenesis of Aneurysm through the Study of Hereditary Aortopathies

1
McKusick-Nathans Department of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2
Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
3
Predoctoral Training in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andreas Brodehl
Genes 2021, 12(2), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12020183
Received: 18 December 2020 / Revised: 20 January 2021 / Accepted: 22 January 2021 / Published: 27 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Genetics)
Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) are permanent and localized dilations of the aorta that predispose patients to a life-threatening risk of aortic dissection or rupture. The identification of pathogenic variants that cause hereditary forms of TAA has delineated fundamental molecular processes required to maintain aortic homeostasis. Vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) elaborate and remodel the extracellular matrix (ECM) in response to mechanical and biochemical cues from their environment. Causal variants for hereditary forms of aneurysm compromise the function of gene products involved in the transmission or interpretation of these signals, initiating processes that eventually lead to degeneration and mechanical failure of the vessel. These include mutations that interfere with transduction of stimuli from the matrix to the actin–myosin cytoskeleton through integrins, and those that impair signaling pathways activated by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). In this review, we summarize the features of the healthy aortic wall, the major pathways involved in the modulation of VSMC phenotypes, and the basic molecular functions impaired by TAA-associated mutations. We also discuss how the heterogeneity and balance of adaptive and maladaptive responses to the initial genetic insult might contribute to disease. View Full-Text
Keywords: aorta; aortopathy; aneurysm; thoracic aortic aneurysm; Marfan syndrome; Loeys–Dietz syndrome; familial thoracic aortic aneurysm; TGF-β; extracellular matrix aorta; aortopathy; aneurysm; thoracic aortic aneurysm; Marfan syndrome; Loeys–Dietz syndrome; familial thoracic aortic aneurysm; TGF-β; extracellular matrix
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MDPI and ACS Style

Creamer, T.J.; Bramel, E.E.; MacFarlane, E.G. Insights on the Pathogenesis of Aneurysm through the Study of Hereditary Aortopathies. Genes 2021, 12, 183. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12020183

AMA Style

Creamer TJ, Bramel EE, MacFarlane EG. Insights on the Pathogenesis of Aneurysm through the Study of Hereditary Aortopathies. Genes. 2021; 12(2):183. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12020183

Chicago/Turabian Style

Creamer, Tyler J., Emily E. Bramel, and Elena G. MacFarlane. 2021. "Insights on the Pathogenesis of Aneurysm through the Study of Hereditary Aortopathies" Genes 12, no. 2: 183. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12020183

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