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You are here: Contents > 2014 > Volume 23 Number 3 May 2014 > AORTIC VALVE DISEASE > Calcium and Phosphorus Concentrations in Native and Decellularized Semilunar Valve Tissues

Calcium and Phosphorus Concentrations in Native and Decellularized Semilunar Valve Tissues

Gayathri Acharya1,2, Matthew Armstrong1, Chris McFall1, Rachael W. Quinn1, Stephen L. Hilbert1, Gabriel L. Converse1, Peter B. Toth1, Ashley K. Sherman3, Chi H. Lee2, Gary K. Lofland1, Richard A. Hopkins1

1Cardiac Regenerative Surgery Research Laboratories, The Ward Family Heart Center, The Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO, 2Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, 3Division of Research, Biostatistics, and Grants, The Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO, USA

Background and aim of the study: Native, allograft, xenograft and bioprosthetic semilunar valves are all susceptible to calcific degeneration. However, intrinsic differences in baseline calcium and phosphorus tissue concentrations within mammalian normal valve structural components (e.g., cusps, sinus, vessel wall) additionally subdivided by tripartite regions (e.g., right-, left- and non-coronary leaflets) have never been systematically measured and reported. It was originally hypothesized that variations in normative tissue concentrations of calcium and phosphorus may correspond to subsequent clinical patterns of acquired dystrophic calcification; decellularization was also expected to reduce the tissue concentrations of these elements.

Methods: Native semilunar valves were freshly harvested from 12 juvenile sheep. Half of the valves were decellularized (six aortic and six pulmonary), while the other valves were flash-frozen at -80°C within minutes of euthanasia as native valves. Elemental calcium and phosphorus concentrations were measured in the great vessels, sinus walls and cusps using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), and analyzed with non-parametric statistical tests.

Results: Calcium concentrations (μg/mg tissue; median

(range) were similar in aortic native cusps (0.37 (0.21)), sinus walls (0.37 (0.09)) and aorta (0.37 (0.08)) (p = 0.8298). Pulmonary calcium concentrations were similar in cusps, but 10-25% higher in the native sinus (p = 0.0018) and pulmonary artery (p <0.0001) compared to analogous aortic structures. All cusps had higher phosphorus concentrations than their respective conduit tissues. No tripartite regional variations were observed. Decellularization did not reduce the calcium content of cusps, but removed 50-55% of vessel and sinus wall calcium. However, up to 85% of phosphorus was removed from all valve tissues (p <0.001).

Conclusion: There were no significant differences in normal tissue concentrations of calcium between aortic valve functional structures, and no semilunar tripartite regional differences in either semilunar valve complex. Thus, the distribution of baseline tissue calcium content of healthy young valves is not inherently predictive of selective or asymmetric anatomical patterns of valve degenerative calcification. Native semilunar cusps contain the highest phosphorus concentrations. Decellularization reduces all elemental concentrations except for cuspal calcium.

The Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2014;23:259-270

Calcium and Phosphorus Concentrations in Native and Decellularized Semilunar Valve Tissues

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