Background: Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a degenerative disease that causes mortality in people aged > 65 years. Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress seem to play a pivotal role in AAA pathogenesis. Several sources of ROS have been identified in aortic tissues using experimental models: inflammation, increased activity of NAD(P)H or NOX, over-expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), uncoupled endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), platelets activation and iron release from hemoglobin.
Objectives: Human studies confirmed that oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction, an important source of ROS production, were well associated with AAA development. Reducing oxidative stress by antioxidants can therefore be a good strategy for limiting AAA development. The objective of the present study is to review literature data favoring or not such a hypothesis. There is currently no evidence showing that strategies using classical low molecular weight antioxidants (vitamins C and E, β- carotene) as target for ROS is effective to reduce human AAA progression. However, recent epidemiological data have highlighted the positive role of a diet enriched in fruits which contain high amounts of antioxidant polyphenols. By their ability to restore endothelial function and also their capacity to stimulate enzymatic antioxidants through activation of the Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway, polyphenols can represent a promising treatment target for reducing human AAA progression.
Conclusion: Clinical studies are therefore urgently necessary to confirm the potential beneficial effect of polyphenols in preventing or limiting AAA.
Keywords: Experimental and human abdominal aortic aneurysms, endothelial function, oxidative stress, antioxidants, polyphenols, prevention.