Abstract 18897: Extracellular Signal-related Kinase Signaling and Smooth Muscle Cell Contractile Gene Expression are Uniformly Enhanced in the Aortic Root and Ascending Aorta in Marfan Syndrome
Introduction: Enhanced TGF-β signaling drives aortic root aneurysm development in Marfan syndrome (MFS) via the non-canonical (ERK) pathway in murine models, but ERK not been studied in human tissue. Conversely, blockade of canonical (Smad) TGF-β signaling is detrimental in MFS mice. Recently, TGF-β-induced increases in smooth muscle cell (SMC) contractile genes and collagen I (COL1) expression have been proposed to lead to aortic stiffness and dilatation in MFS.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that ERK signaling is enhanced in human MFS tissue and dictates the predilection of the aortic root to develop aneurysm by altering SMC gene expression.
Methods and Results: Western blot of aortic root tissue from MFS patients with root aneurysms (4.67±0.09 cm) revealed 3.1-fold increased ERK activation relative to control aortic root (p=0.03, n=8). When compared to non-dilated MFS ascending (ASC) aorta (2.94±0.14 cm), there was no difference in ERK activation between the two regions. While RT-PCR of MFS root showed increased expression of the contractile gene regulator myocardin (2.4±0.07 fold, p=0.01), and of MYH11 (3.05±0.13 fold, p=0.03) ACTA2 (2.93±0.10 fold, p<0.01), and SM22-α (1.88±0.13 fold, p=0.02) versus controls, these genes were not differentially expressed between MFS root and ASC. COL1 expression was increased in MFS root relative to controls (5.57±0.06 fold, p<0.01) and MFS ASC (2.25±0.06 p<0.01). In vitro treatment of cultured MFS aortic root SMCs (n=5 patients) with TGF-β and Smad-specific inhibitor (SB431542) failed to increase expression of MYOCD, MYH11, ACTA2, SM22-α or COL1, while co-treatment with TGF-β and ERK inhibitor (PD98059) induced significant increases in expression of these genes (5.4-, 2.6-, 2.7-, 1.4-, and 1.4- fold, respectively p<0.05).
Conclusions: ERK signaling is uniformly enhanced in MFS aortic root and ASC tissue, indicating that further study into aortic region-specific responses to cellular signals is needed to assess the development of focal aortic root aneurysm in MFS. Increased contractile gene expression is Smad-dependent and non-focal and thus does not clarify focal root aneurysm. COL1, while focally enhanced in the MFS root, is Smad-driven and suppressed by ERK, and may represent a compensatory response.
Author Disclosures: A.J. Pedroza: None. T.K. Koyano: None. J. Trojan: None. I. Palmon: None. M. Arakawa: None. K. Penov: None. M.P. Fischbein: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.