Developmental pathways and endothelial to mesenchymal transition in canine myxomatous mitral valve disease

Chi-chien Lu, Mengmeng Liu, Michael Clinton, Geoff Culshaw, David J. Argyle, Brendan M. Corcoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), and the cardiovascular equivalent, endothelial to mesenchymal transition (EndoMT), contribute to a range of chronic degenerative diseases and cancer metastasis. Chronic valvulopathies exhibit some features of EndoMT and activation of developmental signalling pathways, such as osteogenesis and chondrogenesis, expression of cell differentiation markers, basement membrane damage and endothelial transformation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential role of developmental mechanisms in canine myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD), using a combination of transcriptomic array technology, RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.

There was significant differential expression for genes typically associated with valvulogenesis and EndoMT, including markers of inflammation (IL6, IL18 and TLR4), basement membrane disarray (NID1, LAMA2 and CTSS), mesenchymal and endothelial cell differentiation (MYH11 and TAGLN) and EndoMT (ACTA2, SNAI1, CTNNB1, HAS2, CDH5, and NOTCH1), with fold changes from +15.35 (ACTA2) to -5.52 (LAMA2). These changes in gene expression were confirmed using RT-PCR, except for HAS2. In silico analysis identified important gene networks and canonical pathways in MMVD that have associations with development and organogenesis, including inflammation, valve morphogenesis and EMT, as well as components of the basement membrane and extra-cellular matrix. Immunohistochemistry identified changes in expression of hyaluronic acid synthase (Has2), Snai1, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and VE-cadherin (CDH5), and co-expression of Has2 with α-SMA. These research findings strongly suggest involvement of developmental signalling pathways and mechanisms, including EndoMT, in the pathogenesis of canine MMVD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-384
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Issue number3
Early online date12 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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