RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Apolipoproteins B, (a), and E accumulate in the morphologically early lesion of 'degenerative' valvular aortic stenosis.

Nonrheumatic aortic stenosis of trileaflet aortic valves has been considered to be a "degenerative" process, but the early lesion of aortic stenosis contains the chronic inflammatory cells, macrophages and T lymphocytes. Because lipoprotein deposition is prominent in atherosclerosis, another chronic inflammatory process, this study examined whether lipoproteins accumulate in aortic valve lesions. Immunohistochemical studies were performed to detect apolipoprotein (apo) B, apo(a), apoE, macrophages, and alpha-actin-expressing cells on 18 trileaflet aortic valves that ranged from normal to stenotic. All three apolipoproteins were detected in early through end-stage lesions of aortic stenosis but not in histologically normal regions. Comparison with oil red O staining suggested that most of the extracellular neutral lipid in these valves was associated with either plasma-derived or locally produced apolipoproteins. Thus, in early through end-stage aortic valve lesions, apolipoproteins accumulate and are associated with the majority of extracellular valve lipid. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that lipoprotein accumulation in the aortic valve contributes to pathogenesis of aortic stenosis.

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