Published on December 21, 2012 at 5:44 AM
Since last year the researchers have been looking at why this current model, which lacks both TIMP3 and MMP2, called a "double knockout," was so much worse. The group's research shows that the double knockout triggers the inflammation response in the aortic artery, which eventually produces another MMP molecule, this one being MMP9. It is responsible for reducing the elasticity of the artery, which means it can expand to let blood through, but it doesn't snap back to its original form.
From this discovery, the group decided to treat these double knockouts with MMP inhibitors and they were able to save the models from deadly aneurysm.
"If you detect aneurysms at a very early stage, when it's still small bulging in the abdomen, you can put the patient on MMP inhibitors and control the expansion," said Kassiri. "Whereas if you don't, [the aneurysm is] going to expand and may even rupture."
MMP inhibitors could be a good treatment, for now, as many are already approved drugs, such as doxycyclin). But the research group's goal is to develop a targeted therapy to enrich the swollen aorta with TIMP3.
"What we would want to do in the long term is to deliver TIMP3 locally," said Kassiri. "That's a challenging task considering the location of the aorta behind the abdominal area."
Source: University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry