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Isolation and characterization of primary rat valve interstitial cells: a new model to study aortic valve calcification

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE)
Issue number129
Early online date20 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2017


Calcific Aortic Valve Disease (CAVD) is characterized by the progressive thickening of the aortic valve leaflets. It is a condition frequently found in the elderly and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, who commonly suffer from hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia. At present, there are no medication therapies that can stop its progression. The mechanisms that underlie this pathological process remain unclear. The aortic valve leaflet is composed of a thin layer of valve endothelial cells (VECs) on the outer surfaces of the aortic cusps, with valve interstitial cells (VICs) sandwiched between the VECs. The use of a rat model enables the in vitro study of ectopic calcification based on the in vivo physiopathological serum phosphate (Pi) and calcium (Ca) levels of patients who suffer from hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia. The described protocol details the isolation of a pure rat VIC population as shown by the expression of VIC markers: α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) vimentin and tissue growth factor beta-(TGFβ)1 and 2, and the absence of cluster of differentiation (CD) 31, a VEC marker. By expanding these VICs, biochemical, genetic, and imaging studies can be performed to study and unravel the key mediators underpinning CAVD.

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