Cardiovascular disease remains one of the major sources of morbidity and mortality in the population. In the last 10-15 years, a significant increase in the incidence of aortic valve calcification has largely contributed to these data. This increase is secondary to longer life expectancy of the population, better screening methods and improved access to care.
Aortic valve calcification results in narrowing of the aortic valve orifice (stenosis), which can lead to symptoms ranging from shortness of breath to sudden death if left untreated. To this day, the only proven treatment for patients with aortic valve stenosis remains surgical replacement of the aortic valve using prosthetic valves. Although very effective, this represents an invasive approach. Little in the way of primary or secondary prevention has been developed in recent years. This is mainly due to the fact that the mechanisms leading to aortic valve stenosis remain poorly understood.
The objective of the current research program is to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms which result in aortic valve stenosis. We will specifically examine the role of a specific population on the surface of aortic valves: endothelial cells. These cells have been shown to participate in several disease processes in other parts of the body, including atherosclerosis. However, their role in aortic valve disease has not yet been fully explored. In order to do so, we will isolate these cells from normal and calcified human aortic valves and examine different aspects of their structure and function.
Findings from this research program will lead to better understanding of the mechanisms responsible for aortic valve calcification, with the aim of developing strategies to slow the progression or reverse the process thus avoiding the need for patients to undergo surgical intervention.
|Effective start/end date||1/04/12 → …|
- Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé