Stopping Aneurysms Before They Start

Science 23 October 2015:
Vol. 350 no. 6259 pp. 394-395
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6259.394-h
This Week In Science, Vascular Biology

Wei Wong
The smooth muscle cells in aortas are connected to the extracellular matrix. Mutations in components of the extracellular matrix, such as fibulin-4, can lead to the enlargement of the aortic lumen, otherwise known as an aneurysm. Yamashiro et al. found that mice lacking fibulin-4 in smooth muscle cells had disrupted connections with the extracellular matrix. The mice also had abnormal increases in mechanosensitive proteins and enhanced activity of an actin cytoskeleton–remodeling enzyme called cofilin. Inhibiting the activity of cofilin or its upstream activators could therefore prevent the development of aneurysms.

Sci. Signal. 8, ra105 (2015).