Regional changes in elastic fiber organization and transforming growth factor signaling in aortas from a mouse model of marfan syndrome. Academic Article uri icon


  • In Marfan Syndrome (MFS), development of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) is characterized by degeneration of the medial layer of the aorta, including fragmentation and loss of elastic fibers, phenotypic changes in the smooth muscle cells, and an increase in the active form of transforming growth factor- (TGF), which is thought to play a major role in development and progression of the aneurysm. We hypothesized that regional difference in elastic fiber fragmentation contributes to TGF activation and hence the localization of aneurysm formation. The fibrillin-1-deficient mgR/mgR mouse model of MFS was used to investigate regional changes in elastin fiber fragmentation, TGF activation and changes in gene expression as compared to wild-type littermates. Knockdown of Smad 2 and Smad 3 with shRNA was used to determine the role of the specific transcription factors in gene regulation in aortic smooth muscle cells. We show increased elastin fiber fragmentation in the regions associated with aneurysm formation and altered TGF signaling in these regions. Differential effects of Smad 2 and Smad 3 were observed in cultured smooth muscle cells by shRNA-mediated knockdown of expression of these transcription factors. Differential signaling through Smad 2 and Smad 3 in regions of active vascular remodeling likely contribute to aneurysm formation in the mgR/mgR model of MFS. Increased elastin fiber fragmentation in these regions is associated with these changes as compared to other regions of the thoracic aorta and may contribute to the changes in TGF signaling in these regions.

published proceedings

  • Cell Tissue Res

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Howell, D. W., Popovic, N., Metz, R. P., & Wilson, E.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Howell, David W||Popovic, Natasa||Metz, Richard P||Wilson, Emily

publication date

  • January 2014