, 23 May 2018 Progerin Expression during Normal Closure of the Human Ductus Arteriosus: A Case of Premature Ageing? Gittenberger-de Groot AC, Bokenkamp R, Raz V, van Munsteren C, Poelmann RE, Grewal N, DeRuiter MC
The ductus arteriosus (DA) is a fetal vessel bypassing the still nonfunctional lungs. Closure of the DA at birth is essential for the transition from a fetal to a neonatal circulation. This closing process begins with a physiological contraction followed by definitive anatomical closure. The latter process starts already before birth by development of intimal thickening followed after birth by degeneration of the inner media, including cytolytic necrosis and apoptosis. The DA will remain patent when there is insufficient maturation in prematurely born babies or when there is a structural abnormality as seen in persistent DA (PDA). The histological changes during normal DA closure resemble the features seen in the premature ageing vessels in children with the Hutchinson progeria syndrome. The latter syndrome is caused by a mutation in the lamin A/C gene resulting in accumulation of the progerin splice variant. We studied human DA biopsies from the fetal to the neonatal period to investigate whether lamin A/C and progerin might be involved in the DA closure process. The results show an increase in the intima and inner media of progerin in the normal neonatal DA, while expression of lamin A/C is diminished. In the non-closing aorta, the fetal DA and the PDA, no or hardly any progerin expression was found. We postulate that the lamin A/C to progerin balance is important during normal anatomical closure of the DA presenting a unique case of physiological premature vascular ageing.