Antioxidant Vitamin C attenuates experimental abdominal aortic aneurysm development in an elastase-induced rat model

J Surg Res. 2014 May 1;188(1):316-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.11.1105. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


Background: We investigated the hypothesis that an antioxidant, Vitamin C, could attenuate abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) development in a rat model.

Methods: An AAA model induced by intraluminal infusion was created in 36 male Sprague Dawley rats, which were randomly distributed into three groups: Sham (saline infused, placebo treated), Control (elastase infused, placebo treated), and Vitamin C (elastase infused, vitamin C treated). Vitamin C and placebo were intraperitoneally injected, initiating 1 wk before the infusion and continuing throughout the study. The aortic dilatation ratio was measured, and aortic tissues were further examined using biochemical and histologic techniques.

Results: Vitamin C attenuated the development of AAA, decreasing maximal aortic diameter by 25.8% (P < 0.05) and preserving elastin lamellae (P < 0.05). Vitamin C also decreased 8-hydroxyguanine (a marker of oxidative damage to DNA) and 8-isoprostane content (a marker of oxidative stress) in aortic tissues (P < 0.05, respectively). The proteins of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9, and interleukin 6 were markedly downregulated (P < 0.05, respectively), accompanied with notably reduced messenger RNA expression of tumor necrosis factor-α, MMP-2/9, and interleukin 1β (P < 0.05, respectively). However, messenger RNA of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-1 and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-2 were both significantly upregulated in Vitamin C group. Vitamin C treatment had no significant effect on systolic blood pressure (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Vitamin C attenuated AAA development in an elastase-induced rat model via crucial protective effect, which was mediated by an increased level of antioxidant in cooperation with preserving elastin lamellae, inhibiting matrix-degrading proteinases and suppressing inflammatory responses.

Keywords: Abdominal aortic aneurysm; Inflammation; Oxidative stress; Vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Aorta, Abdominal / drug effects
  • Aorta, Abdominal / metabolism
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / chemically induced
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / prevention & control*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology
  • Ascorbic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Pressure
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / metabolism
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats


  • Antioxidants
  • Pancreatic Elastase
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Mmp2 protein, rat
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9
  • Mmp9 protein, rat
  • Ascorbic Acid