The initiation and development of cerebral arterial aneurysms is abiophysical process involving the interaction between hemodynamic stresses and localized defects in the artery wall. Recent efforts at understanding the pathophysiology of aneurysmal disease, have attempted to contrast normal and aneurysmal arteries on a molecular biological basis. Unfortunately, it has been difficult to obtain conclusive results using these conventional biochemical methods.
The present work contrasts normal versus aneurysmal arteries on the basis ofst ructure \u2014 namely by detecting subtle yet distinct x-ray diffraction patterns that reflect differing degrees of order and disorder. Although the arterialmedia represents an amorphous solid over the long-range, there is significant short-range order that should, in principle, be detectable with the use of high-flux synchrotron x-ray radiation. The present study represents a diffraction study of normal superficial temporal arteries which are ordinarily sacrificed during the course of temporal craniotomy. The samples underwent x-ray diffraction analysis (under freezing conditions) at the high-flux synchrotron beamline X4A at the National Synchrotron Light Source in collaboration with Prof. Wayne A. Hendrickson.
Several features of the diffraction pattern from a normal artery are evident.First are the prominent water rings which represent ice formation within or around the sample.Second, subtle but regular diffraction peaks are observed parallel to the artery axis at approximately 6.75, 5.45 and 5.0 \u00c5 spacings. A helical pattern at 4.1 to 3.25 \u00c5 is also present. These patterns imply asemicry stalline organization to the normal arterial wall. A similar diffraction experiment with a sample obtained from the aneurysmal defect itself \u2014 more specifically, the aneurysm dome reveals the presence of the water rings butno discernible diffraction pattern or powder pattern. This tissue therefore is indeedamorphous.
The implications of this study are several fold: Firs t, it presents evidence of the striking semi-crystallinity of the vascular wall.Second, the wall defect at the aneurysm site demonstrates, in contrast, an amorphous structure.
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