Heart valve disease leads to approximately 300,000 heart valve replacement surgeries each year worldwide. Valvular interstitial cells (VICs) are believed to play a vital role in the repair of heart valves and also most disease processes. VICs synthesize, remodel, and repair the ECM; however, when VICs excessively differentiate to the highly contractile and synthetic myofibroblast phenotype, valvular fibrosis may ensue. Elevated mechanical stress triggers the differentiation of VICs into myofibroblasts. Transforming growth factor beta-1 (TGF-β1) is also critical for the formation of thicker stress fibers positive for α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), the defining characteristic of myofibroblasts.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.