Publications & Posters

Aortic Dimensions, Biophysical Properties, and Plasma Biomarkers in Children and Adults with Marfan or Loeys-Dietz Syndrome

CJC Open | May 1, 2021

Cui JZ, Harris KC, Raedschelders K, Hollander Z, Potts JE, De Souza A, Kiess M, McManus BM, Bernatchez P, Raffin LA, Paine H, van Breemen C, Sandor GGS and Esfandiarei M

CJC Open. 2021;3:585-594




Aortic dilation, stiffening, and dissection are common and potentially lethal complications of Marfan syndrome (MFS) and Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS), which involve abnormal transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signalling. The relation of aortic dimensions, stiffness, and biomarker levels is unknown. The objective of this study was to measure aortic dimensions, stiffness, TGF-β and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) levels, and endothelial function in patients with MFS, and to compare TGF-β levels in patients with MFS receiving different therapeutic regimens.


This was a cohort study of 40 MFS and 4 LDS patients and 87 control participants. Aortic dimension and stiffness indexes, including pulse wave velocity (PWV), were measured using echocardiography and Doppler. Total and free TGF-β and MMP blood levels were measured using Quantikine (R&D Systems, Inc, Minneapolis, MN) and Quanterix (Billerica, MA) kits. Endothelial function was measured using brachial artery flow-mediated dilation.


PWV was increased in patients with MFS. There were increased MMP-2 levels in those with MFS but no increase in free or total TGF-β or MMP-9 levels compared with control participants. There was no difference in TGF-β levels between MFS patients receiving no medications, angiotensin receptor blockers, and β-blockers. PWV correlated most strongly with age. Endothelial function showed premature gradual decline in patients with MFS.


Despite the increased PWV, monitoring aortic stiffness or TGF-β levels would not be helpful in patients with MFS. TGF-β levels were not increased and the increased MMP-2 levels suggest consideration of a different therapeutic target.

This study was performed using the Quanterix HD-1 Analyzer.