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Artif Organs. 1998 Aug;22(8):666-71.

Changes in pericardial calcification due to antiplatelet agents: in vitro studies.

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  • 1Biomedical Engineering Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


To develop tissue valves for prolonged use in the cardiovascular system, the complicated process of surface induced calcification must be better understood. Calcification was examined for 60 days on glutaraldehyde treated bovine pericardium (GABP) and enzyme extracted tissues fixed in glutaraldehyde (GATBP) incubated in metastable solutions of calcium phosphate, and the roles of aspirin and persantine in conjunction with vitamins C, B, or E, gentamycin (antibiotic), or pentothal sodium (anesthetic) in the medium were examined. Further, the diffusion of calcium across the GATBP was evaluated using a diffusion cell with 2 compartments. Pericardial calcification was also observed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. It seems that the examined antiplatelet agents can modify the pericardial surfaces and subsequently their mineralization processes (GATBP, 31.7 micrograms/mg tissue; in the presence of 5 mg% vitamin C, 13.1 micrograms/mg tissue; in 1.5 mg% aspirin, 17.2 micrograms/mg tissue; and 1 mg% gentamycin, 14.8 micrograms/mg tissue) on exposure with the metastable calcium phosphate solution for 60 days. In addition, these agents may modify calcium transport and interfere with the adsorption at the surface, hence reducing calcium nodulation on GATBP. Scanning electron micrographs also revealed a reduction in calcium deposition on the pericardium due to these antiplatelet agents. It may be hypothesized that the influx of calcium on GATBP may be due to the cellular components or the involvement of plasma proteins like the fibrinogen molecule. The exact mechanism of these changes in the calcification of the pericardium are still unknown. From these in vitro findings, it appears that a combined vitamin therapy with low doses of aspirin may be beneficial for platelet suppression and thereby for prevention of thrombosis and calcification. However, more in vivo studies are needed to develop applications.

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