The Potential Role of Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin in the Development of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

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Background: In abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), pathophysiology deterioration of the medial aortic layer plays a critical role. Key players in vessel wall degeneration are reactive oxygen species (ROS), smooth muscle cell apoptosis, and extracellular matrix degeneration by matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). Lipocalin-2, also neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), is suggested to be involved in these degenerative processes in other cardiovascular diseases. We aimed to further investigate the role of NGAL in AAA development and rupture. Methods: In this observational study, aneurysm tissue and blood of ruptured (n = 13) AAA patients were investigated versus nonruptured (n = 26) patients. Nondilated aortas (n = 5) from deceased patients and venous blood from healthy volunteers (n = 10) served as controls. NGAL concentrations in tissue and blood were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunofluorescence microscopy. Nitrotyrosine (marker of ROS), MMP-9, and caspase-3 (marker of apoptosis) in aneurysm tissue were measured by immunofluorescence microscopy. AAA expansion rates were calculated retrospectively. Results: NGAL (in μg/mL) blood concentration in ruptured AAA was 46 (range 22–122) vs. 26 (range 6–55) in nonruptured AAA (P < 0.01) and 14 (range 12–22) in controls (P < 0.01). In the aneurysm wall of ruptured AAA, NGAL concentration was 4.7 (range 1.4–25) vs. 4.4 (range 0.2–14) in nonruptured AAA (not significant) and 1.8 (range 1.2–2.7) in nondilated aortas (P = 0.04). In the medial layer, NGAL correlated positively with nitrotyrosine (Rs = 0.80, P < 0.01), MMP-9 (Rs = 0.56, P = 0.02), and caspase-3 (Rs = 0.75, P = 0.01). NGAL did not correlate to AAA expansion rate in blood or tissue (P = 0.34 and P = 0.95, respectively). Conclusions: This study demonstrates that NGAL blood concentration is higher in ruptured AAA patients than in nonruptured AAA. NGAL expression in the AAA wall is also higher than in nondilated aorta. Furthermore, its expression is associated with factors of vessel wall deterioration. Based on our study results, we could not determine NGAL as a biomarker for AAA growth or rupture. However, our findings do support a potential role of NGAL in the development of AAA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-219
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aorta, Abdominal/chemistry
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal/blood
  • Aortic Rupture/blood
  • Apoptosis
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Caspase 3/analysis
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipocalin-2/blood
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9/analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tyrosine/analogs & derivatives
  • Up-Regulation
  • Vascular Remodeling

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