Navigation Links
University of Alberta research working towards treatment for aortic aneurysms in the abdomen

A researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute is looking closely at a molecule linked to aortic aneurysms in the abdomen, and her findings could lead to a treatment to reduce swelling of the aortic artery, which would be a life-saving treatment.

Zamaneh Kassiri, a professor in the Department of Physiology, and Ratnadeep Basu, a PhD trainee in Kassiri's lab, have been looking at the role of a protein called TIMP3 in the vessels. Their most recent findings, published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that animal models that lacked TIMP3 developed abdominal aneurysms. TIMP3 inhibits a family of proteins that normally chew up the structural proteins in the aortic wall and this role of TIMP3 has turned out to be critical in preventing swelling of the aortic aneurysm.

"This means if we can find a way to boost TIMP3 in the area, aneurysms could be avoided," said Kassiri.

The researchers dug even further in the lab, looking at another molecule called MMP2, which is well known as a contributor to heart and vascular disease. In models that lacked TIMP3, their level of MMP2 was quite high. The thought was that if the researchers lower the level of MMP2, the swollen aorta would be rescued.

However, that wasn't the case.

"The swelling became even larger," said Kassiri. "It is one of the bad guys, so everyone thought it was contributing to the disease, but likely is not, at least in this setting. MMP2 knockouts [lab models stripped of MMP2] alone didn't develop aneurysm; it's a combination of TIMP3 and MMP2 deficiency that made it worse."

Since last year the researchers have been looking at why this current model, which lacks both TIMP3 and MMP2, called a "double knockout," was so much worse. The group's research shows that the double knockout triggers the inflammation response in the aortic artery, which eventually produces another MMP molecule, this one being MMP9. It is responsible for reducing the elasticity of the artery, which means it can expand to let blood through, but it doesn't snap back to its original form.

From this discovery, the group decided to treat these double knockouts with MMP inhibitors and they were able to save the models from deadly aneurysm.

"If you detect aneurysms at a very early stage, when it's still small bulging in the abdomen, you can put the patient on MMP inhibitors and control the expansion," said Kassiri. "Whereas if you don't, [the aneurysm is] going to expand and may even rupture."

MMP inhibitors could be a good treatment, for now, as many are already approved drugs, such as doxycyclin). But the research group's goal is to develop a targeted therapy to enrich the swollen aorta with TIMP3.

"What we would want to do in the long term is to deliver TIMP3 locally," said Kassiri. "That's a challenging task considering the location of the aorta behind the abdominal area."


Contact: Quinn Phillips
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Related biology news :

1. University of Houston study shows BP oil spill hurt marshes, but recovery possible
2. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
3. BGI, University of Helsinki and Wuhan University sign a MOU concerning cooperation on genomics
4. Marshall University study may lead to new treatments for prostate cancer
5. University leads £6 million EU project to tackle obesity
6. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
7. Life expectancy may affect when you get married, divorced, have kids: Queens University study
8. University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes
9. University of Minnesota invention helps advance reliability of alternative energy
10. Israel names Tel Aviv Universitys Renewable Energy Center a Center of Research Excellence
11. University of Minnesota startup offers game-changing energy solutions that reduce CO2 emissions
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has been ... provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer Institute ... will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support facilities, ... preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer ... The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... -- Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar , MD, ... and wellness, and the business opportunities that arise from ... of Healthy Things . Long before health and ... Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, was creating ... from the hospital or doctor,s office into the day-to-day ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. ... solutions, today announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ... touch controller solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, ... by Huawei. --> ... like Google to provide strategic collaboration in the joint ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: ... developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, ... an additional independent director, and the Company welcomes ... allegations in a recent anonymous internet report on NW ... initiatives. Linda Powers stated, "We agree ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , Nov. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/--  Mallinckrodt plc ... announced today that it has closed the sale of ... to Guerbet (GBT- NYSE Euronext) in a transaction valued ... four manufacturing facilities and a total of approximately 1,000 ... the St. Louis area. This ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... England , November 26, 2015 ... innovative medical device company specializing in imaging technologies, announced today ... European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 European Union ... carry out a large-scale clinical trial in breast cancer. ... (Logo: , --> --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... cat and human plaque and pave the way for more ... problems in cats     --> ... most commonly diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little ... now. Two collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from ...
Breaking Biology Technology: