by Randall F. Ankeny, Vinod H. Thourani, Daiana Weiss, J. David Vega, W. Robert Taylor, Robert M. Nerem, Hanjoong Jo
Aortic valve (AV) calcification preferentially occurs on the fibrosa side while the ventricularis side remains relatively unaffected. Here, we tested the hypothesis that side-dependent activation of bone morphogenic protein (BMP) pathway in the endothelium of the ventricularis and fibrosa is associated with human AV calcification. Methods and Results
Human calcified AVs obtained from AV replacement surgeries and non-calcified AVs from heart transplantations were used for immunohistochemical studies. We found SMAD-1/5/8 phosphorylation (a canonical BMP pathway) was higher in the calcified fibrosa than the non-calcified fibrosa while SMAD-2/3 phosphorylation (a canonical TGFß pathway) did not show any difference. Interestingly, we found that BMP-2/4/6 expression was significantly higher on the ventricularis endothelium compared to the fibrosa in both calcified and non-calcified AV cusps; however, BMP antagonists (crossvienless-2/BMPER and noggin) expression was significantly higher on the ventricularis endothelium compared to the fibrosa in both disease states. Moreover, significant expression of inhibitory SMAD-6 expression was found only in the non-calcified ventricularis endothelium. Conclusions
SMAD-1/5/8 is preferentially activated in the calcified fibrosa endothelium of human AVs and it correlates with low expression of BMP antagonists and inhibitory SMAD6. These results suggest a dominant role of BMP antagonists in the side-dependent calcification of human AVs.