Asymmetric Cell–Matrix and Biomechanical Abnormalities in Elastin Insufficiency Induced Aortopathy

Varun K. Krishnamurthy, Ashlie N. Evans, Janaka P. Wansapura, Hanna Osinska, Kelsey E. Maddy, Stefanie V. Biechler, Daria A. Narmoneva, Richard L. Goodwin, Robert B. Hinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Aortopathy is characterized by vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) abnormalities and elastic fiber fragmentation. Elastin insufficient (Eln+/−) mice demonstrate latent aortopathy similar to human disease. We hypothesized that aortopathy manifests primarily in the aorto-pulmonary septal (APS) side of the thoracic aorta due to asymmetric cardiac neural crest (CNC) distribution. Anatomic (aortic root vs. ascending aorta) and molecular (APS vs. non-APS) regions of proximal aorta tissue were examined in adult and aged wild type (WT) and mutant (Eln+/−) mice. CNC, VSMCs, elastic fiber architecture, proteoglycan expression, morphometrics and biomechanical properties were examined using histology, 3D reconstruction, micropipette aspiration and in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the APS side of Eln+/− aorta, Sonic Hedgehog (SHH) is decreased while SM22 is increased. Elastic fiber architecture abnormalities are present in the Eln+/− aortic root and APS ascending aorta, and biglycan is increased in the aortic root while aggrecan is increased in the APS aorta. The Eln+/− ascending aorta is stiffer than the aortic root, the APS side is thicker and stiffer than the non-APS side, and significant differences in the individual aortic root sinuses are observed. Asymmetric structure–function abnormalities implicate regional CNC dysregulation in the development and progression of aortopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2014-2028
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Aortic root
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Cardiac neural crest
  • Elastic fibers
  • Micropipette aspiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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