Influence of diabetes mellitus on the pathological profile of aortic stenosis: a sex-based approach

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2023 Oct 17;22(1):280. doi: 10.1186/s12933-023-02009-w.


Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) accelerates the progression of aortic stenosis (AS), but how their underlying molecular mechanisms interact is not clear. Moreover, whether DM contributes to clinically relevant sex-differences in AS is unknown. In this work we aim to characterize the sex-specific profile of major pathological mechanisms fundamental to aortic valve (AV) degeneration in AS patients with or without concomitant DM.

Methods: 283 patients with severe AS undergoing surgical valve replacement (27.6% DM, 59.4% men) were recruited. Expression of pathological markers related to AS were thoroughly assessed in AVs and valve interstitial cells (VICs) according to sex and presence of DM. Complementary in vitro experiments in VICs in the presence of high-glucose levels (25 mM) for 24, 48 and 72 h were performed.

Results: Oxidative stress and metabolic dysfunction markers were increased in AVs from diabetic AS patients compared to non-diabetic patients in both sexes. However, disbalanced oxidative stress and enhanced inflammation were more predominant in AVs from male AS diabetic patients. Osteogenic markers were exclusively increased in the AVs of diabetic women. Basal characterization of VICs confirmed that oxidative stress, inflammation, calcification, and metabolic alteration profiles were increased in diabetic VICs with sex-specific differences. VICs cultured in hyperglycemic-like conditions triggered inflammatory responses in men, whereas in women rapid and higher production of pro-osteogenic molecules.

Conclusions: DM produces sex-specific pathological phenotypes in AV of AS patients. Importantly, women with diabetes are more prone to develop AV calcification. DM should be considered as a risk factor in AS especially in women.

Keywords: Aortic stenosis; Aortic valve disease; Heart valve disease; Sex-difference; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve / metabolism
  • Aortic Valve / surgery
  • Aortic Valve Stenosis* / surgery
  • Calcinosis* / genetics
  • Calcinosis* / metabolism
  • Calcinosis* / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diabetes Mellitus* / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Male