Abstract 18040: Evidence for Increased mTORC1 and mTORC2 Signaling in Human Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a prominent condition that can progress to both aortic dissection and rupture, and has a higher prevalence in patients with bicuspid aortic valves. While smooth muscle cell proliferation and matrix remodeling are hallmarks of TAA, mechanisms regulating these phenomena are poorly understood. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that mTOR signaling, a positive regulator of cell proliferation and matrix remodeling enzyme elaboration, is increased in human TAA samples from patients with tricuspid and bicuspid aortic valves. Tissue was acquired at the time of operation, and mTOR activation was measured in aortic tissue from patients with TAA and tricuspid aortic valves (n = 29), TAA and bicuspid aortic valves (n = 29) and normal, non-aneurysmal aortic tissue from organ donors (n = 13). qRT-PCR expression of mTOR (1.29±0.1), Raptor (1.31±0.09, an mTORC1-specific subunit), and Rictor (1.44±0.1, an mTORC2-specific subunit) was significantly increased in tricuspid TAA samples compared to normal aorta (1 ±0.1; p < 0.05 for all). Similar changes were observed in patients with bicuspid TAA, as expression of mTOR (1.33±0.04), Raptor (1.27±0.06) and Rictor (1.65±0.09) were increased compared to normal (p < 0.05 for all). Importantly, protein levels of p-S6K and p-4E-BP1, both of which are well-defined targets of mTORC1 signaling, were increased by approximately two-fold in bicuspid and tricuspid TAA samples compared to normal aorta. Collectively, to our knowledge, this is the first report suggesting increased activity of both mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling in human thoracic aortic aneurysm. We propose that inhibition of mTOR signaling may be a useful and efficacious intervention to inhibit cellular proliferation and matrix metalloproteinase activation in TAA, ultimately slowing aneurysmal dilatation and progression to aortic dissection and rupture.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.