An animal model commonly used to investigate pathways and potential therapeutic interventions relevant to abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) involves subcutaneous infusion of angiotensin II within the apolipoprotein E deficient mouse. The aim of this study was to investigate genes differentially expressed in aneurysms forming within this mouse model in order to assess the relevance of this model to human AAA.
Using microarrays we identified genes relevant to aneurysm formation within apolipoprotein E deficient mice. Firstly we investigated genes differentially expressed in the aneurysm prone segment of the suprarenal aorta in these mice. Secondly we investigated genes that were differentially expressed in the aortas of mice developing aneurysms relative to those that did not develop aneurysms in response to angiotensin II infusion. Our findings suggest that a host of inflammation and extracellular matrix remodelling pathways are upregulated within the aorta in mice developing aneurysms. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genome categories enriched in the aortas of mice with aneurysms included cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction, leukocyte transendothelial migration, natural killer cell mediated cytotoxicity and hematopoietic cell lineage. Genes associated with extracellular matrix remodelling, such as a range of matrix metalloproteinases were also differentially expressed in relation to aneurysm formation.
This study is the first report describing whole genome expression arrays in the apolipoprotein E deficient mice in relation to aneurysm formation. The findings suggest that the pathways believed to be critical in human AAA are also relevant to aneurysm formation in this mouse model. The findings therefore support the value of this model to investigate interventions and mechanisms of human AAA.