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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name



Molecular Biology and Genetics

First Advisor

Li Li


A life-threatening clinical manifestation of Marfan Syndrome (MFS) is the development of thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) which can lead to dissection and or rupture. MFS is caused by mutations in extracellular matrix (ECM) protein, Fibrillin-1 (FBN1) which forms the structural component of elastic microfibrils. It is unclear how mutations in FBN1 cause aneurysm development and progression. In recent years, inflammation and immune cells are being considered an important biological process that contributes to TAA. However, the exact roles of the immune cells are unknown. Here we find increased CD11b+ cells recruited and infiltrated into the vessel wall and their spatial distribution suggesting that innate immune signaling plays in important role in aneurysm progression. The presence of p47phox expression to one area of the vessel wall and the expression of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) shows reactive oxygen species (ROS) are present. Increased MMP9 expression is also correlated with increased CD11b expression suggest a correlation with immune cells contributing to further ECM degeneration. This phenomenon is correlated with the size of the dilation and is expressed the highest in the very late stage of aneurysm. These findings prompt the inhibition of CD11b+ cells infiltration to the vessel wall in our aneurysm mouse model to evaluate the survival curve and integrity of the vessel wall to elucidate more the roles these cells play in rupture of aneurysm. The results from future studies will reveal potential therapeutic targets to manage TAA progression.

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