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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2011, Article ID 263870, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.4061/2011/263870
Review Article

Hemodynamics and Mechanobiology of Aortic Valve Inflammation and Calcification

1Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
2Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 143 Multidisciplinary Research Building, Notre Dame, IN 46556-5637, USA
3The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 313 Ferst Drive, Suite 1121, Atlanta, GA 30332-0535, USA

Received 18 March 2011; Accepted 29 April 2011

Academic Editor: Elena Aikawa

Copyright © 2011 Kartik Balachandran et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Cardiac valves function in a mechanically complex environment, opening and closing close to a billion times during the average human lifetime, experiencing transvalvular pressures and pulsatile and oscillatory shear stresses, as well as bending and axial stress. Although valves were originally thought to be passive pieces of tissue, recent evidence points to an intimate interplay between the hemodynamic environment and biological response of the valve. Several decades of study have been devoted to understanding these varied mechanical stimuli and how they might induce valve pathology. Here, we review efforts taken in understanding the valvular response to its mechanical milieu and key insights gained from in vitro and ex vivo whole-tissue studies in the mechanobiology of aortic valve remodeling, inflammation, and calcification.