Retroperitoneal fibrosis is one of the prototypic manifestations of immunoglobulin G4 (IgG4)-related disease (IgG4-RD), but there is growing evidence that the aorta is also involved. These 2 conditions are closely linked, and based on the epicenter of the disease, the clinical manifestations can be classified as retroperitoneal fibrosis, inflammatory abdominal aortic aneurysm (including a combination of the 2), and thoracic aortitis. IgG4-RD is responsible for only a subset (∼50%) of cases of retroperitoneal fibrosis and inflammatory aortic aneurysms. Histological features include an extensive lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate rich in IgG4-positive plasma cells, fibrosis arranged in a storiform pattern, moderate tissue eosinophilia, and partially or completely obliterated veins. Among the 3 layers comprising the aorta, the adventitia is most susceptible to IgG4-related inflammation. The inflammatory process can also disrupt the lamellar elastic fibers in the media, which is seemingly a critical event leading to aneurysmal transformation. Steroid therapy is effective for both retroperitoneal and aortic lesions, as it is for the other manifestations of IgG4-RD. The risk of rupture appears to be low in patients with IgG4-related aortic aneurysms, but immunosuppressive therapy may trigger this critical complication by reducing the wall thickness.
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