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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 456582, 13 pages
Research Article

Activation of Endocannabinoid System Is Associated with Persistent Inflammation in Human Aortic Aneurysm

1Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Clinical Centre Bonn, Sigmund-Freud Street 25, 53105 Bonn, Germany
2Institute of Molecular Psychiatry, Life & Brain Center, Sigmund-Freud Street 25, 53105 Bonn, Germany
3Institute of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Centre of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Duesbergweg 6, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Received 23 June 2015; Revised 27 August 2015; Accepted 30 August 2015

Academic Editor: Renzhi Han

Copyright © 2015 Christopher Gestrich et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human aortic aneurysms have been associated with inflammation and vascular remodeling. Since the endocannabinoid system modulates inflammation and tissue remodeling, we investigated its components in human aortic aneurysms. We obtained anterior aortic wall samples from patients undergoing elective surgery for aortic aneurysm or coronary artery disease as controls. Histological and molecular analysis (RT-qPCR) was performed, and endocannabinoid concentration was determined using LC-MRM. Patient characteristics were comparable between the groups except for a higher incidence of arterial hypertension and diabetes in the control group. mRNA level of cannabinoid receptors was significantly higher in aneurysms than in controls. Concentration of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol was significantly higher, while the second endocannabinoid anandamide and its metabolite arachidonic acid and palmitoylethanolamide were significantly lower in aneurysms. Histology revealed persistent infiltration of newly recruited leukocytes and significantly higher mononuclear cell density in adventitia of the aneurysms. Proinflammatory environment in aneurysms was shown by significant upregulation of M-CSF and PPARγ but associated with downregulation of chemokines. We found comparable collagen-stained area between the groups, significantly decreased mRNA level of CTGF, osteopontin-1, and MMP-2, and increased TIMP-4 expression in aneurysms. Our data provides evidence for endocannabinoid system activation in human aortic aneurysms, associated with persistent low-level inflammation and vascular remodeling.