The Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Correlation between aortic valve protein levels and vector flow mapping of wall shear stress and oscillatory shear index in patients supported with continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices

Published:September 30, 2022DOI:


      Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices commonly lead to aortic regurgitation, which results in decreased pump efficiency and worsening heart failure. We hypothesized that non-physiological wall shear stress and oscillatory shear index alter the abundance of structural proteins in aortic valves of left ventricular assist device (LVAD) patients.


      Doppler images of aortic valves of patients undergoing heart transplants were obtained. Eight patients had been supported with LVADs, whereas 10 were not. Aortic valve tissue was collected and protein levels were analyzed using mass spectrometry. Echocardiographic images were analyzed and wall shear stress and oscillatory shear index were calculated. The relationship between normalized levels of individual proteins and in vivo echocardiographic measurements was evaluated.


      Of the 57 proteins of interest, there was a strong negative correlation between levels of 15 proteins and the wall shear stress (R < -0.500, p ≤ 0.05), and a moderate negative correlation between 16 proteins and wall shear stress (R −0.500 to −0.300, p ≤ 0.05). Gene ontology analysis demonstrated clusters of proteins involved in cellular structure. Proteins negatively correlated with WSS included those with cytoskeletal, actin/myosin, cell-cell junction and extracellular functions.


      In aortic valve tissue, 31 proteins were identified involved in cellular structure and extracellular junctions with a negative correlation between their levels and wall shear stress. These findings suggest an association between the forces acting on the aortic valve (AV) and leaflet protein abundance, and may form a mechanical basis for the increased risk of aortic leaflet degeneration in LVAD patients.



      AR (aortic regurgitation), AV (aortic valve), cf-LVAD (continuous-flow left ventricular assist device), ECM (extra-cellular matrix), LC (liquid chromatography), MS (mass spectrometry), OHT (orthotopic heart transplant), OSI (oscillatory shear index), VEC (valve endothelial cells), VFM (vector flow mapping), VIC (valve interstitial cells), VL (ventricularis layer), WSS (wall shear stress)
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