Abstract 193: Chronic Inhibition of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha Slows Progression of Aortic Valve Stenosis in Mice
Introduction While progression of calcific aortic valve stenosis (CAVS) is known to be strongly associated with activation of pro-inflammatory and pro-osteogenic pathways, effective treatments for CAVS have remained elusive. TNF-α is a pleiotropic inflammatory cytokine and is upregulated in patients with CAVS. Hence, we hypothesized that TNF-α inhibition, using the neutralizing antibody infliximab, can slow the progression of CAVS in vivo.
Methods We used Ldlr-/-Apob100/100 mice, which develop robust CAVS in an age-dependent manner, as a model. Mice were fed a Western-type diet for 6 months, then randomized into one of two groups: 1) twice-weekly infliximab injections (10 mg/kg intraperitoneally; n=10), and 2) saline injections (n=9). Aortic valve function was evaluated using echocardiography, and gene expression in aortic valves was measured using quantitative real-time PCR. Data are presented as mean ± SEM.
Results During the 3 months preceding treatment initiation, aortic valve cusp separation distance decreased progressively in both groups (reduction by 0.082±0.011 mm in control group, 0.095±0.016 mm in infliximab group; p=0.27). Three months after initiation of treatment, cusp separation continued to decrease in control mice (by 0.108±0.021 mm), while progression of valve dysfunction was slower by 42% in the infliximab group (reduction of 0.063±0.009 mm; p=0.03 vs control). Expression of the pro-inflammatory genes Vcam1 and Nos2 was significantly reduced in valves of the infliximab group (by 37% and 60%, respectively). Moreover, endothelium-dependent vasodilation was improved by infliximab (improvement in maximum relaxation to acetylcholine in infliximab group 18±6% compared to control).
Conclusions This study is the first to report that in vivo inhibition of TNF-α slows progression of CAVS in mice with established valve disease. This beneficial effect was accompanied by reduction in pro-inflammatory gene expression and improvement of systemic endothelial function, suggesting infliximab may exert its effects in part by increasing nitric oxide bioavailability. The findings warrant further investigation into the role of TNF-α in initiation and progression of CAVS, as well as its potential as a therapeutic target in human CAVS.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.