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      Clinical Factors Associated With Calcific Aortic Valve Disease fn1fn1This study was supported in part by Contracts NO1-HC85079 through HC-850086 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

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          Characterization of the early lesion of 'degenerative' valvular aortic stenosis. Histological and immunohistochemical studies.

          Nonrheumatic stenosis of trileaflet aortic valves, often termed senile or calcific valvular aortic stenosis, is considered a "degenerative" process, but little is known about the cellular or molecular factors that mediate its development. To characterize the developing aortic valvular lesion, we performed histological and immunohistochemical studies on Formalin-fixed and methanol-Carnoy's-fixed paraffin-embedded aortic valve leaflets or on frozen sections obtained at autopsy from 27 adults (age, 46 to 82 years) with normal leaflets (n = 6), mild macroscopic leaflet thickening (n = 15), or clinical aortic stenosis (n = 6). Focal areas of thickening ("early lesions") were characterized by (1) subendothelial thickening on the aortic side of the leaflet, between the basement membrane (PAS-positive) and elastic lamina (Verhoeff-van Gieson), (2) the presence of large amounts of intracellular and extracellular neutral lipids (oil red O) and fine, stippled mineralization (von Kossa), and (3) disruption of the basement membrane overlying the lesion. Regions of the fibrosa adjacent to these lesions were characterized by thickening and by protein, lipid, and calcium accumulation. Control valves showed none of these abnormalities. Immunohistochemical studies were performed using monoclonal antibodies directed against macrophages (anti-CD68 or HAM-56), and contractile proteins of smooth muscle cells or myofibroblasts (anti-alpha-actin and HHF-35) or rabbit polyclonal antiserum against T lymphocytes (anti-CD3). In normal valves, scattered macrophages were present in the fibrosa and ventricularis, and occasional muscle actin-positive cells were detected in the proximal portion of the ventricularis near the leaflet base, but no T lymphocytes were found. In contrast, early lesions were characterized by the presence of an inflammatory infiltrate composed of non-foam cell and foam cell macrophages, occasional T cells, and rare alpha-actin-positive cells. In stenotic aortic valves, a similar but more advanced lesion was seen. The early lesion of "degenerative" aortic stenosis is an active inflammatory process with some similarities (lipid deposition, macrophage and T-cell infiltration, and basement membrane disruption) and some dissimilarities (presence of prominent mineralization and small numbers of smooth muscle cells) to atherosclerosis.
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            Apolipoproteins B, (a), and E accumulate in the morphologically early lesion of 'degenerative' valvular aortic stenosis.

            Nonrheumatic aortic stenosis of trileaflet aortic valves has been considered to be a "degenerative" process, but the early lesion of aortic stenosis contains the chronic inflammatory cells, macrophages and T lymphocytes. Because lipoprotein deposition is prominent in atherosclerosis, another chronic inflammatory process, this study examined whether lipoproteins accumulate in aortic valve lesions. Immunohistochemical studies were performed to detect apolipoprotein (apo) B, apo(a), apoE, macrophages, and alpha-actin-expressing cells on 18 trileaflet aortic valves that ranged from normal to stenotic. All three apolipoproteins were detected in early through end-stage lesions of aortic stenosis but not in histologically normal regions. Comparison with oil red O staining suggested that most of the extracellular neutral lipid in these valves was associated with either plasma-derived or locally produced apolipoproteins. Thus, in early through end-stage aortic valve lesions, apolipoproteins accumulate and are associated with the majority of extracellular valve lipid. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that lipoprotein accumulation in the aortic valve contributes to pathogenesis of aortic stenosis.
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              Osteopontin is expressed in human aortic valvular lesions.

              Nonrheumatic stenosis of trileaflet aortic valves, in which calcification is a prominent feature, has been termed a "degenerative" condition, but it has been demonstrated recently that chronic inflammation is a characteristic feature of the developing lesion of aortic stenosis. This observation raised the possibility that calcification in the aortic valve might be actively regulated. Thus, the present study investigated whether osteopontin, a protein implicated in the regulation of both normal and dystrophic calcification, could be detected in lesions of valvular aortic stenosis. Morphological and immunohistochemical studies were performed on 14 human aortic valves, representing a range of pathology from normal to clinically stenotic. The extent of calcification and macrophage accumulation and their relation to the presence of osteopontin protein were characterized. Highly statistically significant associations were found between the degree of osteopontin expression and the degrees of both calcification and macrophage accumulation in early through late lesions of aortic stenosis. Further, in situ hybridization localized osteopontin mRNA to a subset of lesion macrophages. These results suggest that, rather than representing a degenerative and unmodifiable process, calcification in aortic stenosis may be, in part, an actively regulated process with the potential for control either through modification of inflammation or synthesis of proteins such as osteopontin, which may modulate calcification in this tissue.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of the American College of Cardiology
                Journal of the American College of Cardiology
                Elsevier BV
                07351097
                March 1997
                March 1997
                : 29
                : 3
                : 630-634
                Article
                10.1016/S0735-1097(96)00563-3
                f8d3e57d-c9ee-4b4e-a969-5ae6e6031878
                © 1997

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