Evidence for active regulation of pro-osteogenic signaling in advanced aortic valve disease

Jordan D. Miller, Robert M. Weiss, Kristine M. Serrano, Lauren E. Castaneda, Robert M. Brooks, Kathy Zimmerman, Donald D. Heistad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Objective- To test the hypothesis that valvular calcium deposition, pro-osteogenic signaling, and function can be altered in mice with advanced aortic valve disease. Methods and Results- "Reversa" mice were given a Western-type diet for 12 months and screened for the presence of aortic valve stenosis. Mice with advanced valve disease were assigned to 1 of 2 groups: (1) those with continued progression for 2 months and (2) those with regression for 2 months, in which lipid lowering was accomplished by a genetic switch. Control mice were normocholesterolemic for 14 months. Mice with advanced valve disease had massive valvular calcification that was associated with increases in bone morphogenetic protein signaling, Wnt/β-catenin signaling, and markers of osteoblastlike cell differentiation. Remarkably, reducing plasma lipids with a genetic switch dramatically reduced markers of pro-osteogenic signaling and significantly reduced valvular calcium deposition. Nevertheless, despite a marked reduction in valvular calcium deposition, valve function remained markedly impaired. Phosphorylated Smad2 levels and myofibroblast activation (indexes of profibrotic signaling) remained elevated. Conclusion- Molecular processes that contribute to valvular calcification and osteogenesis remain remarkably labile during the end stages of aortic valve stenosis. Although reductions in valvular calcium deposition were not sufficient to improve valvular function in the animals studied, these findings demonstrate that aortic valve calcification is a remarkably dynamic process that can be modified therapeutically, even in the presence of advanced aortic valve disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2482-2486
Number of pages5
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • aortic valve stenosis
  • calcification
  • genetically altered mice
  • heart valves
  • oxidized lipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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