Mitral Valve Prolapse Induces Regionalized Myocardial Fibrosis


Background Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is one of the most common forms of cardiac valve disease and affects 2% to 3% of the population. Previous imaging reports have indicated that myocardial fibrosis is common in MVP and described its association with sudden cardiac death. These data combined with evidence for postrepair ventricular dysfunction in surgical patients with MVP support a link between fibrosis and MVP. Methods and Results We performed histopathologic analysis of left ventricular (LV) biopsies from peripapillary regions, inferobasal LV wall and apex on surgical patients with MVP, as well as in a mouse model of human MVP (Dzip1(S14R)(/+)). Tension-dependent molecular pathways were subsequently assessed using both computational modeling and cyclical stretch of primary human cardiac fibroblasts in vitro. Histopathology of LV biopsies revealed regionalized fibrosis in the peripapillary myocardium that correlated with increased macrophages and myofibroblasts. The MVP mouse model exhibited similar regional increases in collagen deposition that progress over time. As observed in the patient biopsies, increased macrophages and myofibroblasts were observed in fibrotic areas within the murine heart. Computational modeling revealed tension-dependent profibrotic cellular and molecular responses consistent with fibrosis locations related to valve-induced stress. These simulations also identified mechanosensing primary cilia as involved in profibrotic pathways, which was validated in vitro and in human biopsies. Finally, in vitro stretching of primary human cardiac fibroblasts showed that stretch directly activates profibrotic pathways and increases extracellular matrix protein production. Conclusions The presence of prominent regional LV fibrosis in patients and mice with MVP supports a relationship between MVP and progressive damaging effects on LV structure before overt alterations in cardiac function. The regionalized molecular and cellular changes suggest a reactive response of the papillary and inferobasal myocardium to increased chordal tension from a prolapsing valve. These studies raise the question whether surgical intervention on patients with MVP should occur earlier than indicated by current guidelines to prevent advanced LV fibrosis and potentially reduce residual risk of LV dysfunction and sudden cardiac death.



computational modeling, DZIP1, fibrosis, mitral valve prolapse, primary cilia