Objective: Although often studied independently, little is known about how aortic valve endothelial cells and valve interstitial cells interact collaborate to maintain tissue homeostasis or drive valve calcific pathogenesis. Inflammatory signaling is a recognized initiator of valve calcification, but the cell-type-specific downstream mechanisms have not been elucidated. In this study, we test how inflammatory signaling via NFκB (nuclear factor κ-light-chain enhancer of activated B cells) activity coordinates unique and shared mechanisms of valve endothelial cells and valve interstitial cells differentiation during calcific progression. Approach and Results: Activated NFκB was present throughout the calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) process in both endothelial and interstitial cell populations in an established mouse model of hypercholesterolemia-induced CAVD and in human CAVD. NFκB activity induces endothelial to mesenchymal transformation in 3-dimensional cultured aortic valve endothelial cells and subsequent osteogenic calcification of transformed cells. Similarly, 3-dimensional cultured valve interstitial cells calcified via NFκB-mediated osteogenic differentiation. NFκB-mediated endothelial to mesenchymal transformation was directly demonstrated in vivo during CAVD via genetic lineage tracking. Genetic deletion of NFκB in either whole valves or valve endothelium only was sufficient to prevent valve-specific molecular and cellular mechanisms of CAVD in vivo despite the persistence of a CAVD inducing environment. Conclusions: Our results identify NFκB signaling as an essential molecular regulator for both valve endothelial and interstitial participation in CAVD pathogenesis. Direct demonstration of valve endothelial cell endothelial to mesenchymal transformation transmigration in vivo during CAVD highlights a new cellular population for further investigation in CAVD morbidity. The efficacy of valve-specific NFκB modulation in inhibiting hypercholesterolemic CAVD suggests potential benefits of multicell type integrated investigation for biological therapeutic development and evaluation for CAVD.
|Number of pages
|Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
|Published - Mar 1 2020
- aortic valve
- endothelial cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine