Aortic valve disease and treatment: the need for naturally engineered solutions

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2011 Apr 30;63(4-5):242-68. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2011.01.008. Epub 2011 Jan 31.


The aortic valve regulates unidirectional flow of oxygenated blood to the myocardium and arterial system. The natural anatomical geometry and microstructural complexity ensures biomechanically and hemodynamically efficient function. The compliant cusps are populated with unique cell phenotypes that continually remodel tissue for long-term durability within an extremely demanding mechanical environment. Alteration from normal valve homeostasis arises from genetic and microenvironmental (mechanical) sources, which lead to congenital and/or premature structural degeneration. Aortic valve stenosis pathobiology shares some features of atherosclerosis, but its final calcification endpoint is distinct. Despite its broad and significant clinical significance, very little is known about the mechanisms of normal valve mechanobiology and mechanisms of disease. This is reflected in the paucity of predictive diagnostic tools, early stage interventional strategies, and stagnation in regenerative medicine innovation. Tissue engineering has unique potential for aortic valve disease therapy, but overcoming current design pitfalls will require even more multidisciplinary effort. This review summarizes the latest advancements in aortic valve research and highlights important future directions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aortic Valve / physiology
  • Aortic Valve / physiopathology
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / physiopathology
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / therapy*
  • Bioprosthesis
  • Calcinosis / pathology
  • Heart Valve Prosthesis*
  • Humans
  • Regenerative Medicine / methods
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*