Mechanobiology of the aortic heart valve

J Heart Valve Dis. 2008 Jan;17(1):62-73.


The aortic heart valve is a complex and sophisticated structure that functions in a mechanically challenging environment. With each cardiac cycle, blood flow exerts shear stresses, bending stress and tensile and compressive forces on the valve tissue. These forces determine a plethora of biological responses, including gene expression, protein activation and cell phenotype. Consequently, mechanical forces may influence valve remodeling or pathological changes. Understanding the mechanobiology of heart valves is a vast task. Herein, some of the recent studies that have increased current knowledge of endothelial and interstitial cell interactions with physical forces are examined. Additionally, experimental co-culture models are described that are being developed to further improve the understanding of endothelial-interstitial cell interactions. Finally, the means by which organ culture systems are being utilized to study heart valve biology, thereby providing a complementary approach to in vivo experimentation, are described.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aortic Valve / anatomy & histology*
  • Aortic Valve / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Biological


  • Chemokines
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins