Role of Macrophage Socs3 in the Pathogenesis of Aortic Dissection

J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Jan 17;7(2):e007389. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.007389.


Background: Aortic dissection (AD) is a life-threatening medical emergency caused by the abrupt destruction of the intimomedial layer of the aortic walls. Given that previous studies have reported the involvement of proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 in AD pathogenesis, we investigated the role of signal transduction and activator of transcription 3 signaling, a downstream pathway of interleukin-6 in macrophages in pathogenesis of AD.

Methods and results: We characterized the pathological and molecular events triggered by aortic stress, which can lead to AD. Aortic stress on the suprarenal aorta because of infrarenal aorta stiffening and angiotensin II infusion for 1 week caused focal medial rupture at the branching point of the celiac trunk and superior mesenteric artery. This focal medial rupture healed in 6 weeks in wild-type (WT) mice, but progressed to AD in mice with macrophage-specific deletion of Socs3 gene (mSocs3-KO). mSocs3-KO mice showed premature activation of cell proliferation, an inflammatory response, and skewed differentiation of macrophages toward the tissue-destructive phenotype. Concomitantly, they showed aberrant phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells and transforming growth factor beta signaling, which are likely to participate in tissue repair. Human AD samples revealed signal transduction and activator of transcription 3 activation in adventitial macrophages adjacent to the site of tissue destruction.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that AD development is preceded by focal medial rupture, in which macrophage Socs3 maintains proper inflammatory response and differentiation of SMCs, thus promoting fibrotic healing to prevent tissue destruction and AD development. Understanding the sequence of the pathological and molecular events preceding AD development will help predict and prevent AD development and progression.

Keywords: acute aortic syndrome; cytokine; inflammation; macrophage; smooth muscle cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensins
  • Animals
  • Aorta / metabolism*
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Aortic Aneurysm / chemically induced
  • Aortic Aneurysm / genetics
  • Aortic Aneurysm / metabolism*
  • Aortic Aneurysm / pathology
  • Aortic Dissection / chemically induced
  • Aortic Dissection / genetics
  • Aortic Dissection / metabolism*
  • Aortic Dissection / pathology
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Fibrosis
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / pathology
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein / deficiency
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein / genetics
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Transcriptome
  • Vascular Remodeling*


  • Angiotensins
  • SOCS3 protein, human
  • Socs3 protein, mouse
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 3 Protein
  • Calcium Chloride