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You are here: Contents > 2014 > Volume 23 Number 4 July 2014 > AORTIC VALVE DISEASE > The Role of Inorganic Pyrophosphate in Aortic Valve Calcification

The Role of Inorganic Pyrophosphate in Aortic Valve Calcification

Swetha Rathan1, Ajit P. Yoganathan1,2, W. Charles O’Neill3

1School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 2The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 3Renal Division, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA

Background and aim of the study: Aortic valve (AV) calcification is a major cause of morbidity and mortality, yet the molecular mechanisms involved are poorly understood. Hence, an ex vivo model of calcification in intact AVs was developed in order to test the role of orthophosphate and pyrophosphate (PPi), both of which factors are known to influence vascular calcification.

Methods: Porcine AV leaflets were cultured in serumfree medium under static conditions for eight days, over which time leaflet architecture and viability were preserved. Calcification was measured as the incorporation of 45Ca, with confirmation by Alizarin Red staining.

Results: Calcification required both a high phosphate concentration (3.8 mM) and removal of PPi with alkaline phosphatase or inorganic pyrophosphatase. Calcification occurred predominantly on the fibrosa and was arrested by the bisphosphonate etidronate, a non-hydrolyzable analog of PPi.

Leaflets released PPi into the medium, and this was enhanced by MLS38949, a specific inhibitor of tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP). Furthermore, leaflets synthesized PPi from extracellular ATP, which was reduced by β,γ-methylene-ATP, an inhibitor of ectonucleotide pyrophosphorylase phosphodiesterase (NPP1).

Conclusion: The ex vivo AV calcification model developed in the present study showed that extracellular PPi, produced by valvular tissue, is a potent inhibitor of valvular calcification. In addition to synthesis, hydrolysis by TNAP also controls PPi levels and calcification. The results suggest that a decreased synthesis or increased hydrolysis of pyrophosphate may contribute to valvular calcification, and that bisphosphonates or inhibitors of TNAP are potential preventive strategies of the process. TNAP are potential preventive strategies.

The Journal of Heart Valve Disease 2014;23:387-394

The Role of Inorganic Pyrophosphate in Aortic Valve Calcification

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