Thoracic aortic aneurysm is characterized by dilation of the aortic diameter by greater than 50%, which can lead to dissection or rupture. Common histopathology includes extracellular matrix remodeling that may affect transmural mass transport, defined as the movement of fluids and solutes across the wall. We measured in vitro ascending thoracic aorta mass transport in a mouse model with partial aneurysm phenotype penetration due to a mutation in the extracellular matrix protein fibulin-4 [Fbln4E57K/E57K, referred to as MU-A (aneurysm) or MU-NA (no aneurysm)]. To push the aneurysm phenotype, we also included MU mice with reduced levels of lysyl oxidase [Fbln4E57K/E57K;Loxþ /-, referred to as MU-XA (extreme aneurysm)] and compared all groups to wild-type (WT) littermates. The phenotype variation allows investigation of how aneurysm severity correlates with mass transport parameters and extracellular matrix organization. We found that MU-NA ascending thoracic aortae have similar hydraulic conductance (Lp) to WT, but 397% higher solute permeability (x) for 4 kDa FITC-dextran. In contrast, MU-A and MU-XA ascending thoracic aortae have 44–68% lower Lp and similar x to WT. The results suggest that ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm progression involves an initial increase in x, followed by a decrease in Lp after the aneurysm has formed. All MU ascending thoracic aortae are longer and have increased elastic fiber fragmentation in the extracellular matrix. There is a negative correlation between diameter and Lp or x in MU ascending thoracic aortae. Changes in mass transport due to elastic fiber fragmentation could contribute to aneurysm progression or be leveraged for treatment. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Transmural mass transport is quantified in the ascending thoracic aorta of mice with a mutation in fibulin-4 that is associated with thoracic aortic aneurysms. Fluid and solute transport depend on aneurysm severity, correlate with elastic fiber fragmentation, and may be affected by proteoglycan deposition. Transport properties of the ascending thoracic aorta are provided and can be used in computational models. The changes in mass transport may contribute to aneurysm progression or be leveraged for aneurysm treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H113-H124
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • aneurysm
  • ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • convection
  • diffusion
  • extracellular matrix
  • transport


Dive into the research topics of 'Changes in transmural mass transport correlate with ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm diameter in a fibulin-4 E57K knockin mouse model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this