CCL20 chemokines, new biomarker for abdominal aortic aneurysm detection

Researchers from the Centre de Recerca en Xarxa de Malalties Cardiovasculars (CIBERCV) of José Martínez González’s group at the IIB Sant Pau have shown that CCL20 protein levels are increased in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms compared to healthy controls and, more importantly, respect atherosclerotic patients who are not aneurysmal. The study, led by Mercedes Camacho, investigates the expression of CCL20 and assesses its possible role as a biomarker to aid in the prognosis of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm.

In this way, it is demonstrated that CCL20 and its CCR6 receptor are increased in aneurysm and that their circulating levels are higher in patients with this aneurysm than in healthy individuals and patients with non-aneurysmal arteriosclerotic disease. “This is undoubtedly a unique feature that is not seen when other cytokines are analyzed that are also found to be increased in abdominal aortic aneurysm and, therefore, CCL20 is particularly relevant in these patients,”Mercedes Camacho says. In addition, plasma levels of CCL20 predict with high sensitivity the presence of aneurysm.

Autoimmunity is known to play a role, not fully clarified, in the pathology of abdominal aortic aneurysm. CCL20 chemokines are involved in the development of autoimmune diseases, although their potential contribution to the development and progression of abdominal aneurysm is unknown.

This work shows an association of the CCL20 and its possible role as a biomarker of the disease, which opens new avenues of research, as the author of the CIBERCV study acknowledges.

“It is essential to find new specific biomarkers for early detection of disease and stratification of risk. In addition, the identification of new biomarkers could help to discover new pathways involved in the pathophysiology of AAA and thus discover new therapeutic targets for pharmacological intervention of the disease,”says Dr. Camacho.

An asymptomatic pathology
Abdominal aortic aneurysm, prevalent in elderly people in industrialized countries, is a pathology that consists of a localized and permanent dilation of the aorta, usually in its infrarenal portion. It is a disease that is mostly asymptomatically, so the diagnosis occurs in many cases casually and currently there is no drug treatment capable of limiting the progression of the aneurysm or preventing its rupture.

Link to reference article
Circulating CCL20 as a New Biomarker of Abdominal AorticAneurysm.
B. Soto, T. Gallastegi-Mossos, C. Rodríguez, J. Martínez-González, J.-R. Escudero, L. Vila & M. Camacho.
SciRep. 2017 Dec 11;7(1):17331. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-17594-6.

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