What is the role of elastin in the pathogenesis of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) present?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Saum A Rahimi, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Answer

Elastin is the principal load-bearing element in the aorta. The aortic wall contains smooth muscle, elastin, and collagen arranged in concentric layers in order to withstand arterial pressure. The number of medial elastin layers is markedly reduced from the proximal thoracic aorta to the infrarenal aorta, with medial thinning and intimal thickening.

Elastin fragmentation and degeneration are observed in aneurysm walls. The decrease in content coupled with the histologic changes of this matrix protein in aneurysms may explain the propensity for aneurysm formation in the infrarenal aorta.


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