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Isolation of Mouse Interstitial Valve Cells to Study the Calcification of the Aortic Valve In Vitro

Published: May 10th, 2021



1Cardiovascular Research Center, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 2Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Institute, Department of Medicine, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, 3Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

This article describes the isolation of mouse aortic valve cells by a two-step collagenase procedure. Isolated mouse valve cells are important for performing different assays, such as this in vitro calcification assay, and for investigating the molecular pathways leading to aortic valve mineralization.

The calcification of aortic valve cells is the hallmark of aortic stenosis and is associated with valve cusp fibrosis. Valve interstitial cells (VICs) play an important role in the calcification process in aortic stenosis through the activation of their dedifferentiation program to osteoblast-like cells. Mouse VICs are a good in vitro tool for the elucidation of the signaling pathways driving the mineralization of the aortic valve cell. The method described herein, successfully used by these authors, explains how to obtain freshly isolated cells. A two-step collagenase procedure was performed with 1 mg/mL and 4.5 mg/mL. The first step is crucial to remove the endothelial cell layer and avoid any contamination. The second collagenase incubation is to facilitate the migration of VICs from the tissue to the plate. In addition, an immunofluorescence staining procedure for the phenotype characterization of the isolated mouse valve cells is discussed. Furthermore, the calcification assay was performed in vitro by using the calcium reagent measurement procedure and alizarin red staining. The use of mouse valve cell primary culture is essential for testing new pharmacological targets to inhibit cell mineralization in vitro.

Calcified aortic valve disease (CAVD) is the most prevalent valvular heart disease in western populations, affecting nearly 2.5% of elderly individuals over 65 years of age1. CAVD affects over six million Americans and is associated with changes in the mechanical properties of the leaflets that impair normal blood flow-through1,2. Currently, there is no pharmacological treatment to stop the progression of the disease or to activate mineral regression. The only effective therapy to treat CAVD is aortic valve replacement by surgery or transcatheter aortic valve replacementWorld Journal of Cardiology. 11 (2), 71-83 (2019).

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