Correlation between plasma osteopontin levels and aortic valve calcification: potential insights into the pathogenesis of aortic valve calcification and stenosis

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2009 Jul;138(1):196-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2008.10.045. Epub 2009 Mar 9.


Objective: The inflammatory process of aortic stenosis involves the differentiation of aortic valve myofibroblasts into osteoblasts. Osteopontin, a proinflammatory glycoprotein, both stimulates differentiation of myofibroblasts and regulates the deposition of calcium by osteoblasts. Osteopontin levels are increased in patients with such conditions as end-stage renal disease, ectopic calcification, and autoimmune disease. We hypothesized that increased plasma osteopontin levels might be associated with the presence of aortic valve calcification and stenosis.

Methods: Venous blood from volunteers older than 65 years undergoing routine echocardiographic analysis or aortic valve surgery for aortic stenosis was collected. Plasma osteopontin levels were measured by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The presence of aortic stenosis was defined as an aortic valve area of less than 2.0 cm(2). Aortic valve calcification was assessed by using a validated echocardiographic grading system (1, none; 2, mild; 3, moderate; 4, severe). Comparisons were performed with nonpaired t tests.

Results: Aortic stenosis was present in 23 patients (mean age, 78 years) and was absent in 7 patients (mean age, 72 years). Aortic valve calcification scores were 3.5 +/- 0.6 and 1.3 +/- 0.5 in patients with and without aortic stenosis, respectively (P < .001). Patients with no or mild aortic valve calcification had lower osteopontin levels compared with patients with moderate or severe aortic valve calcification (406.1 +/- 165.8 vs 629.5 +/- 227.5 ng/mL, P = .01). Similarly, patients with aortic stenosis had higher osteopontin levels compared with patients without aortic stenosis (652.2 +/- 218.7 vs 379.7 +/- 159.9 ng/mL, P < .01).

Conclusion: Increased levels of plasma osteopontin are associated with the presence of aortic valve calcification and stenosis. These findings suggest that osteopontin might play a functional role in the pathogenesis of calcific aortic stenosis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / blood*
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / physiopathology
  • Calcinosis / blood*
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Calcinosis / physiopathology
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteopontin / blood*


  • Osteopontin