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J Mol Med (Berl). 2013 Jan;91(1):129-39. doi: 10.1007/s00109-012-0942-8. Epub 2012 Aug 18.

Identification of a novel flow-mediated gene expression signature in patients with bicuspid aortic valve.

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Atherosclerosis Research Unit, Center for Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


Individuals with bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) are at significantly higher risk of developing serious aortic complications than individuals with tricuspid aortic valves (TAV). Studies have indicated an altered aortic blood flow in patients with BAV; however, the extent to which altered flow influences the pathological state of BAV aorta is unclear. In the present study, we dissected flow-mediated aortic gene expression in patients undergoing elective open heart surgery. A large collection of public microarray data sets were firstly screened for consistent co-expression with five well-characterized flow-regulated genes (query genes). Genes with co-expression probability of >0.5 were selected and further analysed in expression profiles (127 arrays) from ascending aorta of BAV and TAV patients. Forty-four genes satisfied two filtering criteria: a significant correlation with one or more of the query genes (R > 0.40) and differential expression between patients with BAV and TAV. No gene fulfilled the criteria in mammary artery (88 arrays), an artery not in direct contact with the valve. Fifty-five percent of the genes significantly altered between BAV and TAV patients showed differential expression between two identified flow regions in the rat aorta. A large proportion of the identified genes were related to angiogenesis and/or wound healing, with pro-angiogenesis genes downregulated and inhibitory genes upregulated in patients with BAV. Moreover, differential expression of ZFP36, GRP116 and PKD2 was confirmed using immunohistochemistry. Implementing a new strategy, we have demonstrated an angiostatic gene expression signature in patients with BAV, indicating impaired wound healing in these patients, potentially involved in BAV-associated aortopathy.

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