Health In Focus
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a condition in which the aorta becomes enlarged
  • A ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can result in life-threatening bleeding and death
  • A low-calorie diet may reduce the risk of developing abdominal aortic aneurysm, claims a study conducted in mice

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is the enlargement of the main artery, which could be fatal when it ruptures. A new study found that mice put on a low-calorie diet were less likely to develop abdominal aortic aneurysms. The study suggests that low-calorie diet could be the new way to prevent the often fatal condition in humans.

Low-Calorie Diet and Risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

It is known that a low-calorie diet offers numerous health benefits due to a positive effect on body's metabolism. A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Peking Union Medical College conducted a study on mice to see whether a calorie-restricted diet can reduce the risk of AAA. The study was led by researchers Hou-Zao Chen and De-Pei Liu.
Low-Calorie Diet Reduces the Risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Mice were divided into two groups. For a period of 12 weeks, mice in group one received a low-calorie diet, whereas mice in the control group received a normal diet. At the end of 12 weeks, the findings showed that mice that were placed on a low-calorie diet were less likely to develop aneurysms than mice in the control group that received a normal diet. The researchers also observed that mice on low-calorie group showed lower rates of AAA rupture and death.

A low-calorie diet reduced the levels of MMP2, an enzyme that degrades the protein matrix surrounding the blood vessels. After 12-weeks of a low-calorie diet, the vascular smooth muscle cells in the wall of the aorta up-regulated a metabolic sensor protein called SIRT1. The protein SIRT1 can epigenetically suppress genes, including MMP2. The findings of the mice study showed that low-calorie diet did not reduce MMP2 expression and the incidence of AAA in mice whose vascular smooth muscle cells lack SIRT1. The study showed that low-calorie diet reduced the risk of developing AAA in mice by up-regulating a metabolic sensor protein called SIRT1.

"Our findings support the benefit of a calorie-restricted lifestyle for AAA prevention in humans, and suggest that SIRT1 could be a promising molecular target for the treatment of AAA," says De-Pei Liu. The study is published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

AAA is the enlargement of the aorta in the abdomen. The aorta is the main artery that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs. AAA is caused by a weakening of the blood vessel wall. The normal size of the abdominal aorta is 2cm, but it can swell up to 5.5cm (large AAA). If a large aneurysm ruptures, it causes internal bleeding, which is often fatal.

Over 3 million cases of AAA are reported in the United States. It is important to prevent the development of AAA because rupture of an aneurysm can increase the risk of death by 80 percent.

Risk Factors of AAA

AAA is more likely to occur in men over the age of 60 years. Other risk factors include
  • Smoking
  • Overweight or obese
  • Family history
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Sedentary lifestyle
Steps to Prevent AAA
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain normal blood pressure
  • Go for regular health check-up
Ways to prevent AAA
  • Eat healthy
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain normal blood pressure
  1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Introduction - (
  2. Learn More About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - (
  3. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Overview - (

Source: Medindia

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