An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a permanent localized expansion of the abdominal aorta with mortality rate of up to 90% after rupture. AAA growth is a process of vascular degeneration accompanied by a reduction in wall strength and an increase in inflammatory activity. It is unclear whether this process can be intervened to attenuate AAA growth, and hence, it is of great clinical interest to develop a technique that can stabilize the AAA. The objective of this work is to develop a protocol for future studies to evaluate the effects of drug-based therapies on the mechanics and inflammation in rodent models of AAA. The scope of the study is limited to the use of pentagalloyl glucose (PGG) for aneurysm treatment in the calcium chloride rat AAA model. Peak wall stress (PWS) and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity, which are the biomechanical and biological markers of AAA growth and rupture, were evaluated over 4 weeks in untreated and treated (with PGG) groups. The AAA specimens were mechanically characterized by planar biaxial tensile testing and the data fitted to a five-parameter nonlinear, hyperelastic, anisotropic Holzapfel–Gasser–Ogden (HGO) material model, which was used to perform finite element analysis (FEA) to evaluate PWS. Our results demonstrated that there was a reduction in PWS between pre- and post-AAA induction FEA models in the treatment group compared to the untreated group using either animal-specific or average material properties. However, this reduction was not statistically significant. Conversely, there was a statistically significant reduction in MMP-activated fluorescent signal between pre- and post-AAA induction models in the treated group compared to the untreated group. Therefore, the primary contribution of this work is the quantification of the stabilizing effects of PGG using biomechanical and biological markers of AAA, thus indicating that PGG could be part of a new clinical treatment strategy that will require further investigation.

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