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American Heart Journal Plus: Cardiology Research and Practice




Introduction: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is a highly morbid condition and is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. Treatment options are limited to operative interventions, with minimal non-operative options. Prior literature has demonstrated a benefit to the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in attenuating AAA formation. We demonstrate the utility of MSCs in treating AAA in swine, focusing on the mechanical and structural characteristics of aortic tissue after treatment. Methods: 16 Yorkshire pigs underwent retroperitoneal exposure of the infrarenal aorta, with subsequent induction of AAA with peri-adventitial elastase and collagenase. A 1 × 4 cm piece of Gelfoam, an absorbable gelatin-based hemostatic agent, was soaked in media or human MSCs and placed directly on the vessel for control and experimental animals. At postoperative day 21, animals were sacrificed and the infrarenal aorta at this location was harvested for analysis. Tensile strength was measured using a tensiometer, from which Young's modulus and maximum strain were calculated. Results: All animals survived the surgery and post-operative course. Young's elastic modulus for the aneurysm control group was 15.83 ± 1.61 compared to 22.13 ± 2.34 for the stem cell treated segment, p = 0.0316. There was no significant difference in the peak stress between groups. Conclusions: This is the first study to demonstrate the mechanical effects of stem cell therapy on a model of AAA in swine. Young's modulus, which characterizes the intrinsic capacity of a tissue to withstand stress, was greater in the animals treated with MSCs compared to control animals with aneurysms. This methodology can be utilized in future large animal models to develop cell and drug-based therapies for AAA. © 2023 The Authors


2666-6022/© 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.