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Clin Epigenetics. 2017 Oct 3;9:106. doi: 10.1186/s13148-017-0406-7. eCollection 2017.

Epigenome alterations in aortic valve stenosis and its related left ventricular hypertrophy.

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Department of Surgery, University of Rochester Medical center, Rochester, NY USA.
Department of Cardiology, Clinical Unit of Internal Medicine, Clinical Hospital Merkur, Zajćeva 19, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.
Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Hospital Center Zagreb, Kišpatićeva 12, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115 USA.
School of Medicine, University of Josip Juraj Strossmayer, Trg Svetog trojstva 3, 31 000 Osijek, Croatia.
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.
Laboratory for Epigenetics and Molecular Medicine, Department of Biology, School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Šalata 3, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia.


Aortic valve stenosis is the most common cardiac valve disease, and with current trends in the population demographics, its prevalence is likely to rise, thus posing a major health and economic burden facing the worldwide societies. Over the past decade, it has become more than clear that our traditional genetic views do not sufficiently explain the well-known link between AS, proatherogenic risk factors, flow-induced mechanical forces, and disease-prone environmental influences. Recent breakthroughs in the field of epigenetics offer us a new perspective on gene regulation, which has broadened our perspective on etiology of aortic stenosis and other aortic valve diseases. Since all known epigenetic marks are potentially reversible this perspective is especially exciting given the potential for development of successful and non-invasive therapeutic intervention and reprogramming of cells at the epigenetic level even in the early stages of disease progression. This review will examine the known relationships between four major epigenetic mechanisms: DNA methylation, posttranslational histone modification, ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, and non-coding regulatory RNAs, and initiation and progression of AS. Numerous profiling and functional studies indicate that they could contribute to endothelial dysfunctions, disease-prone activation of monocyte-macrophage and circulatory osteoprogenitor cells and activation and osteogenic transdifferentiation of aortic valve interstitial cells, thus leading to valvular inflammation, fibrosis, and calcification, and to pressure overload-induced maladaptive myocardial remodeling and left ventricular hypertrophy. This is especcialy the case for small non-coding microRNAs but was also, although in a smaller scale, convincingly demonstrated for other members of cellular epigenome landscape. Equally important, and clinically most relevant, the reported data indicate that epigenetic marks, particularly certain microRNA signatures, could represent useful non-invasive biomarkers that reflect the disease progression and patients prognosis for recovery after the valve replacement surgery.


Aortic stenosis; Chromatin remodeling; DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Epigenome; Histone modification; lncRNA; miRNA

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