Aortic aneurysm and dissection are manifestations of Marfan syndrome (MFS), a disorder caused by mutations in the gene that encodes fibrillin-1. Selected manifestations of MFS reflect excessive signaling by the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) family of cytokines. We show that aortic aneurysm in a mouse model of MFS is associated with increased TGF-β signaling and can be prevented by TGF-β antagonists such as TGF-β-neutralizing antibody or the angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1) blocker, losartan. AT1 antagonism also partially reversed noncardiovascular manifestations of MFS, including impaired alveolar septation. These data suggest that losartan, a drug already in clinical use for hypertension, merits investigation as a therapeutic strategy for patients with MFS and has the potential to prevent the major life-threatening manifestation of this disorder.
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