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Stem Cells International
Volume 2016, Article ID 6786184, 8 pages
Research Article

Downregulation of the Yes-Associated Protein Is Associated with Extracellular Matrix Disorders in Ascending Aortic Aneurysms

Haiyang Li,1,2,3,4,5,6 Wenjian Jiang,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 Weihong Ren,2,3,6,7 Dong Guo,1,2,3,4,5,6 Jialong Guo,1,2,3,4,5,6 Xiaolong Wang,1,2,3,4,5,6 Yuyong Liu,1,2,3,4,5,6 Feng Lan,2,3,6,7 Jie Du,1,2,3,6,7 and Hongjia Zhang1,2,3,4,5,6,7

1Department of Cardiac Surgery, Beijing Anzhen Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 10029, China
2Beijing Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood Vessel Diseases, Beijing 10029, China
3Beijing Lab for Cardiovascular Precision Medicine, Beijing 10029, China
4The Key Laboratory of Remodeling-Related Cardiovascular Disease, Ministry of Education, Beijing 10029, China
5Beijing Aortic Disease Center, Cardiovascular Surgery Center, Beijing 10029, China
6Beijing Engineering Research Center for Vascular Prostheses, Beijing 10029, China
7Beijing Collaborative Innovation Center for Cardiovascular Disorders, Beijing 10029, China

Received 5 November 2015; Revised 21 December 2015; Accepted 24 December 2015

Academic Editor: Yingmei Feng

Copyright © 2016 Haiyang Li 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.


Previous studies indicate that extracellular matrix (ECM) disorders lead to the apoptosis of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells (VSMCs), which impairs the aortic wall by reducing the generation of elastic fibers, and ultimately result in ascending aortic aneurysm. The critical role of the Yes-associated protein (YAP) has been elucidated in cardiac/SMC proliferation during cardiovascular development. However, the association of YAP expression and extracellular matrix disorders in ascending aortic aneurysms is not clear. Here, we present for the first time that the downregulation of YAP in VSMCs is associated with ECM disorders of the media in ascending aortic aneurysms. We found that aortic ECM deteriorated with increased apoptotic VSMCs. Moreover, expression of YAP was dramatically reduced in the aortic walls of patients with ascending aortic aneurysms, while the normal aortic samples exhibited abundant YAP in the VSMCs. These results suggest that downregulation of YAP leads to apoptosis of VSMCs, which are essential for the homeostasis of the aortic wall. The resultant ECM disorders affect aortic structure and function and contribute to the development of ascending aortic aneurysms. In summary, through assessment of clinical samples, we revealed the association between downregulation of YAP in VSMCs and the development of ascending aortic aneurysms, providing new insight into the pathogenesis of this disease.