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Marfan syndrome: current perspectives

Authors Pepe G, Giusti B, Sticchi E, Abbate R, Gensini G, Nistri S

Received 12 September 2015

Accepted for publication 27 January 2016

Published 9 May 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 55—65

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TACG.S96233

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Martin H. Maurer


Guglielmina Pepe,1,2 Betti Giusti,1,2 Elena Sticchi,1,2 Rosanna Abbate,1,2 Gian Franco Gensini,1–3 Stefano Nistri2,4

1Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Section of Critical Medical Care and Medical Specialities, DENOTHE Center, University of Florence, 2Cardiothoracovascular Department, Marfan Syndrome and Related Disorders Regional Referral Center, Careggi Hospital, 3Santa Maria agli Ulivi, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, Onlus, Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment, Florence, 4Cardiology Service, CMSR Veneto Medica, Altavilla Vicentina, Italy

Abstract: Marfan syndrome (MFS) is a pleiotropic connective tissue disease inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, due to mutations in the FBN1 gene encoding fibrillin 1. It is an important protein of the extracellular matrix that contributes to the final structure of a microfibril. Few cases displaying an autosomal recessive transmission are reported in the world. The FBN1 gene, which is made of 66 exons, is located on chromosome 15q21.1. This review, after an introduction on the clinical manifestations that leads to the diagnosis of MFS, focuses on cardiovascular manifestations, pharmacological and surgical therapies of thoracic aortic aneurysm and/or dissection (TAAD), mechanisms underlying the progression of aneurysm or of acute dissection, and biomarkers associated with progression of TAADs. A Dutch group compared treatment with losartan, an angiotensin II receptor-1 blocker, vs no other additional treatment (COMPARE clinical trial). They observed that losartan reduces the aortic dilatation rate in patients with Marfan syndrome. Later on, they also reported that losartan exerts a beneficial effect on patients with Marfan syndrome carrying an FBN1 mutation that causes haploinsufficiency (quantitative mutation), while it has no significant effect on patients displaying dominant negative (qualitative) mutations. Moreover, a French group in a 3-year trial compared the administration of losartan vs placebo in patients with Marfan syndrome under treatment with beta-receptor blockers. They observed that losartan decreases blood pressure but has no effect on aortic diameter progression. Thus, beta-receptor blockers remain the gold standard therapy in patients with Marfan syndrome. Three potential biochemical markers are mentioned in this review: total homocysteine, serum transforming growth factor beta, and lysyl oxidase. Moreover, markers of oxidative stress measured in plasma, previously correlated with clinical features of Marfan syndrome, may be explored as potential biomarkers of clinical severity.

Keywords: Marfan syndrome, thoracic aortic aneurysm, fibrillin 1, cardiovascular manifestations, diagnosis, therapy

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