Ascending aortic aneurysmal disease is a major worldwide health problem. Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV)- associated aortopathy represents the largest subset of affected patients and this congenital anomaly is present in 1-2% of the general population. Current aortic diameter-based guidelines for surgical intervention stem from a non-controlled extrapolation of natural history data that does not reflect patient-specific aortic catastrophe risk rendering under-treatment in some patients and over-treatment in others. This is largely because there is an incomplete understanding of what biological and biomechanical features are unique to BAV-associated aortopathy or other degenerative aneurysms and how these insults potentiate aortic dissection. During the prior funding period, we uncovered several cellular, tissue architectural, and biomechanical-based features distinguishing BAV-associated aortopathy from that of degenerative aneurysms. We discovered that elevated production of superoxide anion by medial smooth muscle cells, increased oxidative stress-induced cellular damages, and a biomechanical strength profile coupled with an anisotrophic collagen and elastin microarchitecture uniquely define the tissue microenvironment of the BAV aorta. In the next phase of the project, we will elucidate how an interplay of mechanical and oxidative stress mediates ECM remodeling, determine where hypoxia comes into play, and how clinical imaging-derived metrics correspond to cellular and tissue aberrations in the BAV aorta. In a two-aim approach, we will test the central hypothesis that mechanical forces- and local hypoxia-induced oxidative stress invokes differential ECM remodeling in BAV and TAV patients, and these insults can be correlated to patient-specific aortic wall indices that can be imaged, bundled and used to predict disease progression and/or aortic catastrophe.
Aim 1 's approach will employ our established patient-specific 3D culture models to determine how mechanical stretch and low oxygen tension impact antioxidant response, free radical production, cellular oxidative damages, and influence ECM production, microarchitecture and degradation in BAV aorta-derived smooth muscle cells.
In Aim 2, quantification of local hypoxic effects, measures of oxidative cellular damages, ECM microarchitecture, and biochemical ECM composition will be regionally compared and then correlated with patient-specific wall shear stress measurements from 4D flow MRI, aortic wall morphometrics from dynamic ECG-gated CTA, and distensibility metrics from echocardiography to develop a workable patient-specific multi-parameter imaging- based paradigm. Completion of this project phase will generate an aortic bio-map that profiles mechanical and oxidative stress-mediated ECM remodeling in BAV-associated aortopathy and will identify what in vivo bio- imaging endpoints correlate with these tissue insults. A perceived deliverable is a set of building blocks for a workable multi-parameter computational model whose main output will be a patient specific aortic integrity score that more accurately identifies dissection risk for a given patient. This work will also reveal new opportunities for the implementation of PET-based probes to non-invasively detect local aortic vulnerability and identify novel targets for medical therapeutic intervention.
Ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm (ATAA) is a highly lethal event because it renders the aorta vulnerable to dissection, which is the fifteenth leading cause of death in the United States. Due to a lack of understanding of ATAA at the cellular and molecular level, care of patients has been limited to open heart surgery only for advanced-stage aneurysm or for dissection. The two primary objectives of this proposal are to 1) better understand the biology of ATAA to uncover new therapeutic targets aimed at preserving aortic wall integrity and preventing aneurysm progression and 2) develop a multi-parameter, patient-specific (bio)image-based interrogation strategy to develop new diagnostic tools for early detection and better surveillance of ATAA.
|Thunes, James R; Phillippi, Julie A; Gleason, Thomas G et al. (2018) Structural modeling reveals microstructure-strength relationship for human ascending thoracic aorta. J Biomech 71:84-93|
|Billaud, Marie; Hill, Jennifer C; Richards, Tara D et al. (2018) Medial Hypoxia and Adventitial Vasa Vasorum Remodeling in Human Ascending Aortic Aneurysm. Front Cardiovasc Med 5:124|
|Venkatesh, Premakumari; Phillippi, Julie; Chukkapalli, Sasanka et al. (2017) Aneurysm-Specific miR-221 and miR-146a Participates in Human Thoracic and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Int J Mol Sci 18:|
|Hall, Alexander; Chan, Patrick; Sheets, Kevin et al. (2017) Nanonet force microscopy for measuring forces in single smooth muscle cells of the human aorta. Mol Biol Cell 28:1894-1900|
|Phillippi, Julie A; Hill, Jennifer C; Billaud, Marie et al. (2017) Bicuspid Aortic Valve Morphotype Correlates With Regional Antioxidant Gene Expression Profiles in the Proximal Ascending Aorta. Ann Thorac Surg 104:79-87|
|Billaud, Marie; Phillippi, Julie A; Kotlarczyk, Mary P et al. (2017) Elevated oxidative stress in the aortic media of patients with bicuspid aortic valve. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 154:1756-1762|
|Fercana, George R; Yerneni, Saigopalakrishna; Billaud, Marie et al. (2017) Perivascular extracellular matrix hydrogels mimic native matrix microarchitecture and promote angiogenesis via basic fibroblast growth factor. Biomaterials 123:142-154|
|Billaud, Marie; Donnenberg, Vera S; Ellis, Bradley W et al. (2017) Classification and Functional Characterization of Vasa Vasorum-Associated Perivascular Progenitor Cells in Human Aorta. Stem Cell Reports 9:292-303|
|Thunes, James R; Pal, Siladitya; Fortunato, Ronald N et al. (2016) A structural finite element model for lamellar unit of aortic media indicates heterogeneous stress field after collagen recruitment. J Biomech 49:1562-1569|
|Tsamis, Alkiviadis; Phillippi, Julie A; Koch, Ryan G et al. (2016) Extracellular matrix fiber microarchitecture is region-specific in bicuspid aortic valve-associated ascending aortopathy. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 151:1718-1728.e5|
Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications