Early Aberrant Angiogenesis Due to Elastic Fiber Fragmentation in Aortic Valve Disease.
ABSTRACT: Elastic fiber fragmentation (EFF) is a hallmark of aortic valve disease (AVD), and neovascularization has been identified as a late finding related to inflammation. We sought to characterize the relationship between early EFF and aberrant angiogenesis. To examine disease progression, regional anatomy and pathology of aortic valve tissue were assessed using histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and electron microscopy from early-onset (<40 yo) and late-onset (≥40 yo) non-syndromic AVD specimens. To assess the effects of EFF on early AVD processes, valve tissue from Williams and Marfan syndrome patients was also analyzed. Bicuspid aortic valve was more common in early-onset AVD, and cardiovascular comorbidities were more common in late-onset AVD. Early-onset AVD specimens demonstrated angiogenesis without inflammation or atherosclerosis. A distinct pattern of elastic fiber components surrounded early-onset AVD neovessels, including increased emilin-1 and decreased fibulin-5. Different types of EFF were present in Williams syndrome (WS) and Marfan syndrome (MFS) aortic valves; WS but not MFS aortic valves demonstrated angiogenesis. Aberrant angiogenesis occurs in early-onset AVD in the absence of inflammation, implicating EFF. Elucidation of underlying mechanisms may inform the development of new pharmacologic treatments.
Project description:Aortic valve disease (AVD) is characterized by elastic fiber fragmentation (EFF), fibrosis and aberrant angiogenesis. Emilin1 is an elastin-binding glycoprotein that regulates elastogenesis and inhibits TGF-? signaling, but the role of Emilin1 in valve tissue is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that Emilin1 deficiency results in AVD, mediated by non-canonical (MAPK/phosphorylated Erk1 and Erk2) TGF-? dysregulation. Using histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, quantitative gene expression analysis, immunoblotting and echocardiography, we examined the effects of Emilin1 deficiency (Emilin1-/-) in mouse aortic valve tissue. Emilin1 deficiency results in early postnatal cell-matrix defects in aortic valve tissue, including EFF, that progress to latent AVD and premature death. The Emilin1-/- aortic valve displays early aberrant provisional angiogenesis and late neovascularization. In addition, Emilin1-/- aortic valves are characterized by early valve interstitial cell activation and proliferation and late myofibroblast-like cell activation and fibrosis. Interestingly, canonical TGF-? signaling (phosphorylated Smad2 and Smad3) is upregulated constitutively from birth to senescence, whereas non-canonical TGF-? signaling (phosphorylated Erk1 and Erk2) progressively increases over time. Emilin1 deficiency recapitulates human fibrotic AVD, and advanced disease is mediated by non-canonical (MAPK/phosphorylated Erk1 and Erk2) TGF-? activation. The early manifestation of EFF and aberrant angiogenesis suggests that these processes are crucial intermediate factors involved in disease progression and therefore might provide new therapeutic targets for human AVD.
Project description:Aortic valve disease (AVD) is a common condition with a progressive natural history, and presently, there are no pharmacologic treatment strategies. Elastic fiber fragmentation (EFF) is a hallmark of AVD, and increasing evidence implicates developmental elastic fiber assembly defects. Emilin1 is a glycoprotein necessary for elastic fiber assembly that is present in both developing and mature human and mouse aortic valves. The <i>Emilin1-</i>deficient mouse (<i>Emilin1</i><sup><i>-/-</i></sup> ) is a model of latent AVD, characterized by activated TGF?/MEK/p-Erk signaling and upregulated elastase activity. <i>Emilin1</i><sup><i>-/-</i></sup> aortic valves demonstrate early EFF and aberrant angiogenesis followed by late neovascularization and fibrosis. The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of three different targeted therapies. Aged (12-14 months) <i>Emilin1</i><sup><i>-/-</i></sup> mice were treated with refametinib (RDEA-119, MEK1/2 inhibitor), doxycycline (elastase inhibitor), or G6-31 (anti-VEGF-A mouse antibody) for 4 weeks. Refametinib- and doxycycline-treated <i>Emilin1</i><sup><i>-/-</i></sup> mice markedly reduced MEK/p-Erk activation in valve tissue. Furthermore, both refametinib and doxycycline attenuated elastolytic cathepsin K, L, MMP-2, and MMP-9 activation, and abrogated macrophage and neutrophil infiltration in <i>Emilin1</i><sup><i>-/-</i></sup> aortic valves. RNAseq analysis was performed in aortic valve tissue from adult (4 months) and aged (14 months) <i>Emilin1</i><sup><i>-/-</i></sup> and age-matched wild-type control mice, and demonstrated upregulation of genes associated with MAPK/MEK/p-Erk signaling and elastases at the adult stage and inflammatory pathways at the aged stage controlling for age. These results suggest that Erk1/2 signaling is an important modulator of early elastase activation, and pharmacological inhibition using refametinib may be a promising treatment to halt AVD progression.
Project description:Aortic valve disease (AVD) occurs in 2.5% of the general population and often requires surgical intervention. Aortic valve malformation (AVM) underlies the majority of cases, suggesting a developmental etiology. Elastin haploinsufficiency results in complex cardiovascular problems, and 20-45% of patients have AVM and/or AVD. Elastin insufficient (Eln+/-) mice demonstrate AVM and latent AVD due to abnormalities in the valve annulus region. The objective of this study was to examine extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and biomechanical properties in regional aortic valve tissue and determine the impact of early AVM on late AVD in the Eln+/- mouse model. Aortic valve ECM composition and remodeling from juvenile, adult, and aged stages were evaluated in Eln+/- mice using histology, ELISA, immunohistochemistry and gelatin zymography. Aortic valve tissue biomechanical properties were determined using micropipette aspiration. Cartilage-like nodules were demonstrated within the valve annulus region at all stages identifying a developmental abnormality preceding AVD. Interestingly, maladaptive ECM remodeling was observed in early AVM without AVD and worsened with late AVD, as evidenced by increased MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression and activity, as well as abnormalities in ADAMTS-mediated versican processing. Cleaved versican was increased in the valve annulus region of aged Eln+/- mice, and this abnormality correlated temporally with adverse alterations in valve tissue biomechanical properties and the manifestation of AVD. These findings identify maladaptive ECM remodeling in functional AVM as an early disease process with a progressive natural history, similar to that seen in human AVD, emphasizing the importance of the annulus region in pathogenesis. Combining molecular and engineering approaches provides complementary mechanistic insights that may be informative in the search for new therapeutic targets and durable valve bioprostheses.
Project description:Pregnancy poses a threat to women with aortopathy. Conclusive data on the obstetric and aortic outcome in this risk collective, especially when it comes to aortic complications in the long term, are still missing. This study offers a comparative analysis of pregnancy-associated outcome in 113 consecutive women with Marfan syndrome or bicuspid aortic valve disease, including 46 ever-pregnant and 37 never-pregnant women with Marfan syndrome, and 23 ever-pregnant and 7 never-pregnant females with bicuspid aortic valve disease. The overall obstetric outcome was comparable between ever-pregnant women with Marfan syndrome and with bicuspid aortic valve disease (<i>p</i> = 0.112). Pregnancy-associated aortic dissection occurred in two women with Marfan syndrome (3%) during a total of 62 completed pregnancies, whereas no single case of aortic event occurred in women with bicuspid aortic valve disease during a total of 36 completed pregnancies (<i>p</i> = 0.530). In the long-term follow-up, aortic dissection occurred in 21% of ever-pregnant women with Marfan syndrome, but in none of the women with bicuspid aortic valve disease (<i>p =</i> 0.022). Proximal aortic surgery was performed with similar frequency in ever-pregnant women with Marfan syndrome and with bicuspid aortic valve disease in the long term (<i>p</i> = 0.252). However, ever-pregnant women with Marfan syndrome were younger when surgery was performed (44 ± 9 vs. 59 ± 7 years; <i>p</i> = 0.041). In Marfan syndrome, long-term growth of the aorta was comparable between ever-pregnant and never-pregnant women. Pregnancy thus exhibited an increased immediate aortic risk only in women with Marfan syndrome, but not in women with bicuspid aortic valve disease. Previous pregnancy did not relate to an increased long-term risk of adverse aortic events in women with Marfan syndrome or with bicuspid aortic valve disease.
Project description:Aortic Valve Disease (AVD) is the most common Valvular Heart Disease (VHD), affecting millions of people worldwide. Severe AVD is treated in most cases with prosthetic aortic valve replacement, which involves the substitution of the native aortic valve with a prosthetic one. In this review we will discuss the different types of prosthetic aortic valves available for implantation and the challenges faced by patients, medical doctors, researchers and manufacturers, as well as the approaches that are taken to overcome them.
Project description:Currently, no reliable genotype-phenotype correlation is available for pediatric Marfan patients in everyday clinical practice. We investigated correlations of FBN1 variants with the prevalence and age of onset of Marfan manifestations in childhood and differentiated three groups: missense/in-frame, splice, and nonsense/frameshift variants. In addition, we differentiated missense variants destroying or generating a cysteine (cys-missense) and alterations not affecting cysteine. We categorized 105 FBN1-positive pediatric patients. Patients with cys-missense more frequently developed aortic dilatation (p = 0.03) requiring medication (p = 0.003), tricuspid valve prolapse (p = 0.03), and earlier onset of myopia (p = 0.02) than those with other missense variants. Missense variants correlated with a higher prevalence of ectopia lentis (p = 0.002) and earlier onset of pulmonary artery dilatation (p = 0.03) than nonsense/frameshift, and dural ectasia was more common in the latter (p = 0.005). Pectus excavatum (p = 0.007) appeared more often in patients with splice compared with missense/in-frame variants, while hernia (p = 0.04) appeared earlier in the latter. Findings on genotype-phenotype correlations in Marfan-affected children can improve interdisciplinary therapy. In patients with cys-missense variants, early medical treatment of aortic dilatation seems reasonable and early regular ophthalmologic follow-up essential. Patients with nonsense/frameshift and splice variants require early involvement of orthopedic specialists to support the growing child.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:A bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is associated with accelerated aortic valve disease (AVD) and abnormalities in aortic elasticity. We investigated the intima-media thickness of the descending aorta (AoIMT) in patients with AVD with or without an ascending aortic aneurysm (AscAA), in relation to BAV versus tricuspid aortic valve (TAV) phenotype, type of valve disease, cardiovascular risk factors, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with a known association with carotid IMT. METHODS AND RESULTS:368 patients (210 with BAV, 158 with TAV,); mean age 64 ± 13 years) were examined using transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) before valvular and/or aortic surgery. No patient had a coronary disease (CAD). The AoIMT was measured on short-axis TEE images of the descending aorta using a semi-automated edge-detection technique. AoIMT was univariately (P < 0.05) related to age, blood pressure, smoking, creatinine, highly sensitive C-reactive protein, HDL, valve hemodynamics and BAV. In the TAV subgroup it was also associated with the rs200991 SNP. Using multivariate regression analysis, age was the main determinant for AoIMT (P < 0.001), followed by male gender (P = 0.02), BAV was no longer a significant predictor of AoIMT. AoIMT was still related to the rs200991 SNP in TAV (P = 0.034), and to creatinine in BAV (P = 0.019), when other variables were accounted for. CONCLUSIONS:Intima-media thickness of the descending aorta is not affected by aortic valve morphology (BAV/TAV); age is the main determinant of AoIMT. Genetic markers (SNPs) known to influence IMT in the carotid artery seem to correlate to IMT in the descending aorta only in patients with TAV.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pathogenic variants in FBN1 cause autosomal dominant Marfan syndrome but can also be found in patients presenting with apparently isolated features of Marfan syndrome. Moreover, several families with autosomal recessive Marfan syndrome caused by pathogenic variants in FBN1 have been described. The aim of this report was to underline the clinical variability that can be associated with the pathogenic variant c.1453C>T, p.(Arg485Cys) in FBN1. METHODS:We provide the clinical details of two autosomal dominant families with this specific FBN1 variant, which was previously associated with autosomal recessive Marfan syndrome. RESULTS:Clinical data of 14 individuals carrying this variant from these two families were collected retrospectively. In both families, the diagnosis of autosomal dominant Marfan syndrome was established based on the characteristics of the variant and the phenotype which includes aortic aneurysms and dissections. Of interest, in one of the families, multiple relatives were diagnosed with early onset abdominal aortic aneurysms. CONCLUSION:In conclusion, FBN1 variant c.1453C>T, p.(Arg485Cys) is a pathogenic variant that can cause autosomal dominant Marfan syndrome characterized by a high degree of clinical variability and apparently isolated early onset familial abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Project description:Patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) have increased risk of thoracic ascending aortic aneurysm (AscAA) and dissection compared to those with a normal tricuspid aortic valve (TAV). The present study was undertaken to evaluate whether differences in gene expression exist in aortas from BAV and TAV patients with AscAA. Experiment Overall Design: Aneurysmal tissue of ascending aorta was collected from 13 patients with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) and 12 patients with tricuspid aortic valve (TAV). Patients were selected on the basis of aortic diameter, age and other disease conditions. Patients with giant cell aortitis, cardiovascular abnormalities, inherited connective tissue disorders such as Marfan and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome were excluded from the study. RNA was extracted using Invitrogen RNA extraction kit and shown to be of adequate quality before application to Affymetrix microarray U133A gene chips probing for over 16,000 genes per chip. Two different methods of data analysis were performed: a linear model and GeneSpring.
Project description:<i>Background:</i> Pathogenic variants in <i>TGFBR1</i>, <i>TGFBR2</i> and <i>SMAD3</i> genes cause Loeys-Dietz syndrome, and pathogenic variants in <i>FBN1</i> cause Marfan syndrome. Despite their similar phenotypes, both syndromes may have different cardiovascular outcomes. <i>Methods:</i> Three expert centers performed a case-matched comparison of cardiovascular outcomes. The Loeys-Dietz group comprised 43 men and 40 women with a mean age of 34 ± 18 years. Twenty-six individuals had pathogenic variants in <i>TGFBR1</i>, 40 in <i>TGFBR2</i>, and 17 in <i>SMAD3</i>. For case-matched comparison we used 83 age and sex-frequency matched individuals with Marfan syndrome. <i>Results:</i> In Loeys-Dietz compared to Marfan syndrome, a patent ductus arteriosus (<i>p</i> = 0.014) was more prevalent, the craniofacial score was higher (<i>p</i> < 0.001), the systemic score lower (<i>p</i> < 0.001), and mitral valve prolapse less frequent (<i>p</i> = 0.003). Mean survival for Loeys-Dietz and Marfan syndrome was similar (75 ± 3 versus 73 ± 2 years; <i>p</i> = 0.811). Cardiovascular outcome was comparable between Loeys-Dietz and Marfan syndrome, including mean freedom from proximal aortic surgery (53 ± 4 versus 48 ± 3 years; <i>p</i> = 0.589), distal aortic repair (72 ± 3 versus 67 ± 2 years; <i>p</i> = 0.777), mitral valve surgery (75 ± 4 versus 65 ± 3 years; <i>p</i> = 0.108), and reintervention (20 ± 3 versus 14 ± 2 years; <i>p</i> = 0.112). In Loeys-Dietz syndrome, lower age at initial presentation predicted proximal aortic surgery (HR = 0.748; <i>p</i> < 0.001), where receiver operating characteristic analysis identified ?33.5 years with increased risk. In addition, increased aortic sinus diameters (HR = 6.502; <i>p</i> = 0.001), and higher systemic score points at least marginally (HR = 1.175; <i>p</i> = 0.065) related to proximal aortic surgery in Loeys-Dietz syndrome. <i>Conclusions:</i> Cardiovascular outcome of Loeys-Dietz syndrome was comparable to Marfan syndrome, but the severity of systemic manifestations was a predictor of proximal aortic surgery.