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Title: The aetiology behind AAA disease formation and progression
Author: Thompson, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 4279
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2009
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AAA disease remains a common and life threatening condition, predominantly affecting men of retirement age. Whilst clinical studies have done much to predict the course of this disease, understanding the pathogenesis has been complicated by both a multi-factorial aetiology as well as several poorly defined stages to the disease (formation, growth and rupture). Evidence points to a considerable inheritable component to this condition, but as yet, associations with identified genetic variants are few and weak. This thesis describes the current understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind AAA pathogenesis, concentrating on aneurysm formation and growth. A meta-analysis of published candidate gene studies identified three genes with small but significant effects on risk of developing AAA (ACE, MTHFR and MMP9) and none with a significant effect on AAA growth. Further examination of five genes connected the Renin-Angiotensin System, using three distinct case control series, demonstrated the strongest reported association to date with AAA disease risk, with AGTR1+1166A>C. (OR 1.55 [1.30-1.83, p=5x10-7]). An interest in the role of the TGF-β pathway in AAA formation and growth has developed from the recent illumination of the mechanism behind aneurysm aetiology in Marfan syndrome. Haplotype analysis was used to investigate five genes coding for TGF-β and its binding protein (LTBP). Variants in TGFB3 and LTBP4 were significantly associated with altered AAA growth. The importance of inflammatory process was also supported by observations made in a very large longitudinal data set of AAA growth. Anti-inflammatory drugs, together with anti-platelet drugs and drugs used in diabetes, were significantly associated with decreased AAA growth independent of confounding factors. In conclusion, this thesis demonstrates; a role for the RAS in AAA formation; TGF-β in AAA growth; and anti-inflammatory drugs as potentially disease modifying. In addition, observations have also been made concerning a two tier effect illuding to the nature AAA progression.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysm