Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
International Journal of Vascular Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 3107879, 11 pages
Research Article

Phenotypic and Functional Changes of Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Cells in Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

1Almazov Federal Medical Research Centre, Akkuratova 2, Saint Petersburg 197341, Russia
2Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya Nab. 7/9, Saint Petersburg 199034, Russia
3ITMO University, Institute of Translational Medicine, 49 Kronverksky Prospekt, Saint Petersburg 197101, Russia
4Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Tikhoretsky Avenue 4, Saint Petersburg 194064, Russia
5Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, Postboks 1171, Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway

Received 30 September 2015; Revised 3 December 2015; Accepted 14 December 2015

Academic Editor: John A. Kern

Copyright © 2016 Anna Malashicheva 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.


Thoracic aortic aneurysm develops as a result of complex series of events that alter the cellular structure and the composition of the extracellular matrix of the aortic wall. The purpose of the present work was to study the cellular functions of endothelial and smooth muscle cells from the patients with aneurysms of the thoracic aorta. We studied endothelial and smooth muscle cells from aneurysms in patients with bicuspid aortic valve and with tricuspid aortic valve. The expression of key markers of endothelial (CD31, vWF, and VE-cadherin) and smooth muscle (SMA, SM22α, calponin, and vimentin) cells as well extracellular matrix and MMP activity was studied as well as and apoptosis and cell proliferation. Expression of functional markers of endothelial and smooth muscle cells was reduced in patient cells. Cellular proliferation, migration, and synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins are attenuated in the cells of the patients. We show for the first time that aortic endothelial cell phenotype is changed in the thoracic aortic aneurysms compared to normal aortic wall. In conclusion both endothelial and smooth muscle cells from aneurysms of the ascending aorta have downregulated specific cellular markers and altered functional properties, such as growth rate, apoptosis induction, and extracellular matrix synthesis.