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Original research
Aneurysm wall cellularity affects healing after coil embolization: assessment in a rat saccular aneurysm model


Background and purpose Despite significant technical advances, recanalization rates after endovascular therapy of ruptured intracranial aneurysms (IAs) remain a clinical challenge. A histopathological hallmark of ruptured human IA walls is mural cell loss. Mural smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are known to promote intraluminal healing in thrombosed experimental aneurysms. In this rat model we assess the natural history and healing process after coil embolization in SMC-rich and decellularized aneurysms.

Methods Saccular aneurysms were created by end-to-side anastomosis of an arterial graft from the descending thoracic aorta of a syngeneic donor rat to the infrarenal abdominal aorta of recipient male Wistar rats. Untreated arterial grafts were immediately transplanted, whereas aneurysms with loss of mural cells were chemically decellularized before implantation. Aneurysms underwent coil implantation during aneurysm anastomosis. Animals were randomly assigned either to the non-decellularized or decellularized group and underwent macroscopic and histological analyses on days 3, 7, 21, or 90 post-coil implantation.

Results A total of 55 rats underwent macroscopic and histologic analysis. After coil embolization, aneurysms with SMC-rich walls showed a linear course of thrombosis and neointima formation whereas decellularized aneurysms showed marked inflammatory wall degeneration with increased recanalization rates 21 days (p=0.002) and 90 days (p=0.037) later. The SMCs showed the ability to actively migrate into the intra-aneurysmal thrombus and participate in thrombus organization.

Conclusions Coil embolization of aneurysms with highly degenerated walls is prone to further wall degeneration, increased inflammation, and recanalization compared with aneurysms with vital SMC-rich walls.

  • aneurysm
  • coil
  • vessel wall
  • inflammation

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