Collagen Turnover in Relation to Risk Factors and Hemodynamics in Human Intracranial Aneurysms

Katharina A.M. Hackenberg, Hamidreza Rajabzadeh-Oghaz, Rita Dreier, Bruce A. Buchholz, Ali Navid, David M. Rocke, Amr Abdulazim, Daniel Hänggi, Adnan Siddiqui, R. Loch MacDonald, Hui Meng, Nima Etminan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Determinants for molecular and structural instability, that is, impending growth or rupture, of intracranial aneurysms (IAs) remain uncertain. To elucidate this, we endeavored to estimate the actual turnover rates of the main molecular constituent in human IA (collagen) on the basis of radiocarbon (14C) birth dating in relation to IA hemodynamics. Methods - Collagen turnover rates in excised human IA samples were calculated using mathematical modeling of 14C birth dating data of collagen in relation to risk factors and histological markers for collagen maturity/turnover in selected IA. Hemodynamics were simulated using image-based computational fluid dynamics. Correlation, logistic regression, and receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed. Results - Collagen turnover rates were estimated in 46 IA (43 patients); computational fluid dynamics could be performed in 20 IA (20 patients). The mean collagen turnover rate (γ) constituted 126% (±1% error) per year. For patients with arterial hypertension, γ was greater than 2600% annually, whereas γ was distinctly lower with 32% (±1% error) per year for patients without risk factors, such as smoking and hypertension. There was a distinct association between histological presence of rather immature collagen in human IA and the presence of modifiable risk factors. Spatial-temporal averaged wall shear stress predicted rapid collagen turnover (odds ratio, 1.6 [95% CI, 1.0-2.7]). Receiver operating characteristic analysis demonstrated a good test accuracy (area under the curve, 0.798 [95% CI, 0.598-0.998]) for average wall shear stress with a threshold ≥4.9 Pa for rapid collagen turnover. Conclusions - Our data indicate that turnover rates and stability of collagen in human IA are strongly associated with the presence of modifiable risk factors and aneurysmal hemodynamics. These findings underline the importance of strict risk factor modification in patients with unruptured IA. Future should include more detailed risk factor data to establish a more causal understanding of hemodynamics and the rupture risk of individual IA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1624-1628
Number of pages5
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • collagen
  • humans
  • intracranial aneurysm
  • logistic models
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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