Send to

Choose Destination
Histochem Cell Biol. 2003 Oct;120(4):307-17. Epub 2003 Oct 2.

Smoothelin-positive cells in human and porcine semilunar valves.

Author information

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5C1, Canada.


Our aim was to further characterize the interstitial cell phenotypes of normal porcine and human semilunar valves, information necessary for the design of bioengineered valves and for the understanding of valve disease processes such as aortic valve sclerosis. Existence of fibroblasts, myofibroblasts, and smooth muscle-like cells within semilunar heart valves has been established. However, the nature of the smooth muscle cell population has been controversial. We used immunochemical and western blotting methods to determine the status of smoothelin and smooth muscle alpha-actin in the valve. Our examination of valve interstitial cells confirmed the presence of terminally differentiated, contractile smooth muscle cells in situ. They were arranged in small bundles of 5-35 cells within the ventricularis or as individual cells scattered throughout the valvular layers in vivo, and were present in cells explanted from the valves in vitro. Colocalization of these proteins in semilunar heart valves was achieved with double-labeling experiments. Protein extraction, followed by coimmunoprecipitation, electrophoresis, and western blotting confirmed the immunochemical analysis and suggested that smooth muscle alpha-actin and smoothelin interact, as has been previously postulated. The presence of contractile smooth muscle within the valve may be an important factor in understanding valve pathology and in the design of tissue engineering efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center