Age of Collagen in Intracranial Saccular Aneurysms
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Background and Purpose—The chronological development and natural history of cerebral aneurysms (CAs) remain incompletely understood. We used 14C birth dating of a main constituent of CAs, that is, collagen type I, as an indicator for biosynthesis and turnover of collagen in CAs in relation to human cerebral arteries to investigate this further.
Methods—Forty-six ruptured and unruptured CA samples from 43 patients and 10 cadaveric human cerebral arteries were obtained. The age of collagen, extracted and purified from excised CAs, was estimated using 14C birth dating and correlated with CA and patient characteristics, including the history of risk factors associated with atherosclerosis and potentially aneurysm growth and rupture.
Results—Nearly all CA samples contained collagen type I, which was <5 years old, irrespective of patient age, aneurysm size, morphology, or rupture status. However, CAs from patients with a history of risk factors (smoking or hypertension) contained significantly younger collagen than CAs from patients with no risk factors (mean, 1.6±1.2 versus 3.9±3.3 years, respectively; P=0.012). CAs and cerebral arteries did not share a dominant structural protein, such as collagen type I, which would allow comparison of their collagen turnover.
Conclusions—The abundant amount of relatively young collagen type I in CAs suggests that there is an ongoing collagen remodeling in aneurysms, which is significantly more rapid in patients with risk factors. These findings challenge the concept that CAs are present for decades and that they undergo only sporadic episodes of structural change.
- Received March 12, 2014.
- Revision received April 1, 2014.
- Accepted April 3, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.