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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Abdominal aortic aneurysms: distribution of elastin, collagen I and III, and intermediate filament proteins desmin and vimentin--a comparison of familial and nonfamilial aneurysms.

The aortic walls of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) and of healthy controls were examined for elastin, collagen I and III, and the intermediate filament proteins desmin and vimentin by immunohistochemical, enzyme histochemical, and routine histological techniques. The morphology of the aneurysmatic walls varied considerably from case to case, but many pathological changes were seen in all cases, e.g., extensive atherosclerotic plaques in the intima, prominent alterations in amount and organization of the elastic lamellae in the media, and an increase of connective tissue. Both collagen I and III were present in all the aneurysmatic walls. The smooth muscle cells in all the aortic walls showed a marked heterogeneity with respect to the morphological appearance, the enzyme histochemical features, and the content of desmin and vimentin. Vimentin occurred in some intimal, medial muscle, and adventitial cells of both the controls and the AAA patients. Desmin occurred in some of the intimal, medial, and adventitial muscle cells of both the controls and the AAA patients. All the cells with desmin in the intima and media also contained vimentin. Thus, smooth muscle cells in the walls of both the normal human abdominal aorta and aneurysms contained either vimentin, desmin, or both. This variability may be explained by the presence of different phenotypes of smooth muscle cells and could be of significance for the development of atherosclerosis and aneurysms. Of special interest was the finding that 5 of the 24 AAA patients studied had blood relatives with the same disease, suggesting a hereditary influence. However, no systematic differences between the morphological appearance of the aneurysmatic walls in familial and nonfamilial AAA could be detected.[1]


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