Int J Angiol 2006; 15(1): 1-8
DOI: 10.1007/s00547-006-2080-z
Review Article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Matrix metalloproteinases in thoracic aortic aneurysm disease

Donald Botta, John A. Elefteriades
  • Section of Cardiothoracic Surgery Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
27 April 2011 (online)


The proteolytic enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinases, or MMPs, and their inhabitors, the tissue inhabitors of matrix metalloproteinases, or TIMPs, have recently been implicated in the pathophysiology of both abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms. There are over thirty different MMPs identifies. MMP-1 and MMP-9 appear to play a pivotal role in thoracic aortic aneurysms. It appears that MMPs are synthesized locally in the diseased aortic wall. The sites of synthesis appear focally concentrated in the aneurysmal aortic segments only. Tissue levels of MMPs appear indeed to be reflected in serum levels, opening the door for serial clinical monitoring. Pharmacologic therapy directed against MMPs promises to provide an alternative for discouraging growth and rupture of aortic aneurysms.