Gene discovery paves way for new methods to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms


An international team led by Matt Bown, vascular surgeon, University of Leicester, identified for the first time a single gene that is linked to the development of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). The researchers also found that the gene called LRP1 is not associated with other cardiovascular diseases. 

The research lasted for ten years and was led by the University of Leicester, UK. It involved 2000 people from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Iceland, The Netherlands, Sweden, the USA and the UK.


Bown, senior lecturer in surgery in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester, said, “Since abdominal aortic aneurysms often run in families, the research team compared the genes of people with AAAs to those without and discovered that one gene, LRP1, was associated with AAA.


“Abdominal aortic aneurysm is an important disease since it commonly affects the older population and can only be treated by surgery. Through this research we have identified a gene that is associated with AAA and the further investigation of the function of this gene in relation to AAA may help us understand more about the disease and how to treat it without resorting to operations.”


The study was funded by The Wellcome Trust and has been published in The American Journal of Human Genetics.