JUL 07, 2020 5:35 AM PDT

Investigating New Ways to Diagnose a Heart of Bone

WRITTEN BY: Jasper Cantrell

Calcific aortic stenosis, or calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), is a progressive cardiovascular disease where the aortic valve in your heart gradually turns to bone. In CAVD, a complex set of signals slowly transform aortic vascular interstitial cells (VICs) into something that resembles a bone cell called an osteoblast. These bone-like cells build up and eventually obstruct the aortic valve, becoming fatal if not treated in time.

The only treatment for aortic stenosis, and by extension CAVD, is a valve replacement. Current diagnostic tools for CAVD, such as CTs or MRIs, are effective but involve injecting synthetic dyes into a patient. In an attempt to develop a non-invasive method, a team from the University of Arkansas hypothesized that something called two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) microscopy could be used as a possible alternative.

TPEF is a method that allows scientists to observe changes in a cell’s metabolism. It reads the fluorescence of two critical molecules, NADH and FAD, involved in the production of energy in the mitochondria. In theory, observing changes in both molecules could be used to follow the VICs transformation process. Established biomarkers and structural changes would be used to validate the observations and confirm the hypothesis.

Following the TPEF readout alongside established genetic biomarkers, they saw a clear correlation between the two during the VIC transformation process. Established structural changes in the cell that occur during the transformation process, especially in the nucleus, also correlated with the TPEF.

As an initial proof of concept, this study supports TPEF as a new possible method for diagnosing CAVD. More research is needed before TPEF could be used as a diagnostic tool in the real world, but the possibility of a test that does not need to cause patient discomfort is tantalizing.

The team concludes their study, “Future studies will dig deeper into the exact metabolic changes that occur during CAVD progression and how they relate to observed alteration in measured TPEF metrics, and whether any of these techniques can be translated in vivo.”

Sources: Nature Scientific Reports, Atrium Collabarative

About the Author
Bachelors of the Sciences
Hey everyone! My name is Jasper and, considering I am pretty new here to Labroots, I figured I would introduce myself. I received my bachelor’s from the University of California at Riverside back in 2016. I started off my career a few years ago with a job at a University over in New York, before moving over into the industry. I'm happy to be writing content for Labroots, and I hope you enjoy it!
You May Also Like
MAR 18, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Study Indicates Possible Links between Suicide and Undiagnosed Autism
MAR 18, 2022
Study Indicates Possible Links between Suicide and Undiagnosed Autism
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that over 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2020, mak ...
MAR 22, 2022
Cardiology
Stress Reduction May Help Treat Atrial Fibrillation
MAR 22, 2022
Stress Reduction May Help Treat Atrial Fibrillation
Americans are feeling unprecedented levels of stress; reducing it may help treat atrial fibrillation.
APR 26, 2022
Cardiology
Another Study Shows Alcohol Is Bad for the Heart
APR 26, 2022
Another Study Shows Alcohol Is Bad for the Heart
Several recent studies have shown that any amount of alcohol consumption raises cardiovascular disease risk.
MAY 12, 2022
Cardiology
New Research Helps Predict Dementia Before Symptoms Develop
MAY 12, 2022
New Research Helps Predict Dementia Before Symptoms Develop
A blood biomarker could predict dementia years before symptoms develop.
JUL 26, 2022
Cardiology
Only 20% of Americans Have Optimal Heart Health
JUL 26, 2022
Only 20% of Americans Have Optimal Heart Health
According to the AHA's updated metrics, only 1 in 5 Americans has "high" cardiovascular health.
AUG 06, 2022
Technology
Wearable Devices More Cost Effective Way to Screen for Atrial Fibrillation
AUG 06, 2022
Wearable Devices More Cost Effective Way to Screen for Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AF), a condition characterized by abnormal, fast heart beats, affects an estimated five million peo ...
Loading Comments...