Aortic valve (AV) disease is diagnosed by severe symptoms, such as calcification, and typically treated by AV replacement and repair surgeries. The mechanism by which AV disease occurs, specifically the role of the endothelium remains relatively unknown. It is known that disease preferentially occurs on the fibrosa, or aortic side, where it is exposed to disturbed, oscillatory flow, whereas the ventricularis, or side facing the left ventricle, experiences pulsatile, laminar shear and remains non-calcified [1, 2]. Research shows that regulation of miRNAs, short nucleotide segments targeting mRNAs, coincides with cardiovascular pathologies [3] though expression profiles of miRNAs and the mRNAs they modulate in human AV endothelial cells (HAVECs) have not been reported. We hypothesize that disturbed flow conditions present on the fibrosa stimulate ECs to modify expression of genes and miRNAs to induce a pro-inflammatory phenotype.

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