Murine ultrasound imaging for circumferential strain analyses in the angiotensin II abdominal aortic aneurysm model

John T. Favreau, Binh T. Nguyen, Ian Gao, Peng Yu, Ming Tao, Jacob Schneiderman, Glenn R. Gaudette, C. Keith Ozaki*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The underlying causes of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) remain obscure, although research tools such as the angiotensin II (Ang II) apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE -/-) mouse model have aided investigations. Longitudinal imaging and determination of biomechanical forces in this small-scale model have been difficult. We hypothesized that high-frequency ultrasound biomicroscopy combined with speckle-tracking analytical strategies can be used to define the role of circumferential mechanical strain in AAA formation in the Ang II/apoE -/- mouse model of AAAs. We simultaneously examined dietary perturbations that might impact the biomechanical properties of the aortic wall, hypothesizing that the generalized inflammatory phenotype associated with diet-induced obesity would be associated with accelerated loss of circumferential strain and aneurysmal aortic degeneration. Methods: Receiving either a 60 kcal% fat Western diet or standard 10 kcal% fat normal chow, Ang II-treated apoE -/- mice (n = 34) underwent sequential aortic duplex ultrasound scan imaging (Vevo 2100 System; VisualSonics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) of their entire aorta. Circumferential strains were calculated using speckle-tracking algorithms and a custom MatLab analysis. Results: Decreased strains in all aortic locations after just 3 days of Ang II treatment were observed, and this effect progressed during the 4-week observation period. Anatomic segments along the aorta impacted wall strain (baseline highest in ascending aorta; P <.05), whereas diet did not. At 2 and 4 weeks, there was the largest progressive decrease in strain in the paravisceral/supraceliac aorta (P <.05), which was the segment most likely to be involved in aneurysm formation in this model. Conclusions: In the Ang II/apoE -/- aneurysm model, the aorta significantly stiffens (with decreased strain) shortly after Ang II infusion, and this progressively continues through the next 4 weeks. High-fat feeding did not have an impact on wall strain. Delineation of biomechanical factors and AAA morphology via duplex scan and speckle-tracking algorithms in mouse models should accelerate insights into human AAAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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