There are sex differences in the pathophysiology of aortic valve (AV) calcification in patients with aortic stenosis, although the molecular and cellular mechanisms have not been elucidated. Aldosterone (Aldo) promotes proteoglycan synthesis in valve interstitial cells (VICs) from mitral valves via the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR). We investigated the influence of sex in the role of Aldo/MR pathway in AV alterations in patients with aortic stenosis. MR was expressed by primary aortic VICs and in AVs from patients with aortic stenosis. MR expression positively correlated with VIC activation markers in AVs from both sexes. However, MR expression was positively associated with molecules involved in AV calcification only in AV from men. Aldo enhanced VIC activation markers in cells from men and women. Interestingly, Aldo increased the expression of calcification markers only in VICs isolated from men. In female VICs, Aldo enhanced fibrotic molecules. MR antagonism (spironolactone) blocked all the above effects. Cytokine arrays showed ICAM (intercellular adhesion molecule)-1 and osteopontin to be specifically increased by Aldo in male VICs. In AVs from men, MR expression positively associated with both ICAM-1 (intercellular adhesion molecule-1) and osteopontin. Only in female VICs, estradiol treatment blocked Aldo-induced VICs activation, inflammation, and fibrosis. These findings demonstrate that the Aldo/MR pathway could play a role in early stages of aortic stenosis by promoting VICs activation, fibrosis, and ulterior calcification. Importantly, Aldo/MR pathway is involved in fibrosis in women and in early AV calcification only in men. Accordingly, MR antagonism emerges as a new sex-specific pharmacological treatment to prevent AV alterations.
Authors: Lara Matilla, Eva Jover, Mattie Garaikoetxea, Ernesto Martín-Nuñez, Vanessa Arrieta, Amaia García-Peña, Adela Navarro, Amaya Fernández-Celis, Alicia Gainza, Virginia Álvarez, Diego Álvarez de la Rosa, Rafael Sádaba, Frederic Jaisser, Natalia López-Andrés
Keywords: aortic stenosis, calcification, fibrosis, gender
DOI Number: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.122.19526 Publication Year: 2022
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