Transcatheter aortic valve replacements alter circulating serum factors to mediate myofibroblast deactivation

Sci Transl Med. 2019 Sep 11;11(509):eaav3233. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aav3233.


The transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure has emerged as a minimally invasive treatment for patients with aortic valve stenosis (AVS). However, alterations in serum factor composition and biological activity after TAVR remain unknown. Here, we quantified the systemic inflammatory effects of the TAVR procedure and hypothesized that alterations in serum factor composition would modulate valve and cardiac fibrosis. Serum samples were obtained from patients with AVS immediately before their TAVR procedure (pre-TAVR) and about 1 month afterward (post-TAVR). Aptamer-based proteomic profiling revealed alterations in post-TAVR serum composition, and ontological analysis identified inflammatory macrophage factors implicated in myofibroblast activation and deactivation. Hydrogel biomaterials used as valve matrix mimics demonstrated that post-TAVR serum reduced myofibroblast activation of valvular interstitial cells relative to pre-TAVR serum from the same patient. Transcriptomics and curated network analysis revealed a shift in myofibroblast phenotype from pre-TAVR to post-TAVR and identified p38 MAPK signaling as one pathway involved in pre-TAVR-mediated myofibroblast activation. Post-TAVR serum deactivated valve and cardiac myofibroblasts initially exposed to pre-TAVR serum to a quiescent fibroblast phenotype. Our in vitro deactivation data correlated with patient disease severity measured via echocardiography and multimorbidity scores, and correlations were dependent on hydrogel stiffness. Sex differences in cellular responses to male and female sera were also observed and may corroborate clinical observations regarding sex-specific TAVR outcomes. Together, alterations in serum composition after TAVR may lead to an antifibrotic fibroblast phenotype, which suggests earlier interventions may be beneficial for patients with advanced AVS to prevent further disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / drug effects
  • Aortic Valve / metabolism
  • Aortic Valve / pathology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrogels / pharmacology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Male
  • Myofibroblasts / metabolism
  • Myofibroblasts / pathology*
  • Phenotype
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Serum / metabolism*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement*
  • Transcriptome / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • Hydrogels
  • Inflammation Mediators