Soluble EMMPRIN levels discriminate aortic ectasia in marfan syndrome patients

Erica Rurali, Gianluca L. Perrucci, Raffaella Gaetano, Alessandro Pini, Donato Moschetta, Davide Gentilini, Patrizia Nigro, Giulio Pompilio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marfan syndrome (MFS) is a rare genetic disease characterized by a matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) dysregulation that leads to extracellular matrix degradation. Consequently, MFS patients are prone to develop progressive thoracic aortic enlargement and detrimental aneurysm. Since MMPs are activated by the extracellular MMP inducer (EMMPRIN) protein, we determined whether its plasmatic soluble form (sEMMPRIN) may be considered a marker of thoracic aortic ectasia (AE). Methods: We compared plasma sEMMPRIN levels of 42 adult Caucasian MFS patients not previously subjected to aortic surgery with those of matched healthy controls (HC) by ELISA. In the MFS cohort we prospectively evaluated the relationship between plasma sEMMPRIN levels and the main MFS-related manifestations. Results: MFS patients had lower plasma sEMMPRIN levels (mean±SD: 2071±637 pg/ml) than HC (2441±642 pg/ml, p=0.009). Amongst all considered MFS-related clinical features, we found that only aortic root dilatation associated with circulating sEMMPRIN levels. Specifically, plasma sEMMPRIN levels negatively correlated with aortic Z-score (r=-0.431, p=0.004), and were significantly lower in patients with AE (Z-score≥2, 1788±510 pg/ml) compared to those without AE (Z-score<2, 2355±634 pg/ml; p=0.003). ROC curve analysis revealed that plasma sEMMPRIN levels discriminated patients with AE (AUC [95%CI]: 0.763 [0.610–0.916], p=0.003) with 85.7% sensitivity, 76.2% specificity, and 81% accuracy. We defined plasma sEMMPRIN levels ≤2246 pg/ml as the best threshold discriminating the presence of AE in MFS patients with an odds ratio [95%CI] of 19.2 [3.947-93.389] (p<0.001). Conclusions: MFS patients are characterized by lower sEMMPRIN levels than HC. Notably, plasma sEMMPRIN levels are strongly associated with thoracic AE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2224-2234
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Aortic ectasia
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Z-score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)


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