Polyamine concentration is increased in thoracic ascending aorta of patients with bicuspid aortic valve

Amalia Forte, Mario Grossi, Ciro Bancone, Marilena Cipollaro, Marisa de Feo, Per Hellstrand, Lo Persson, Bengt Olof Nilsson, Alessandro della Corte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polyamines are cationic molecules synthesized via a highly regulated pathway, obtained from the diet or produced by the gut microbiota. They are involved in general molecular and cellular phenomena that play a role also in vascular disease. Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is a congenital malformation associated to a greater risk of thoracic ascending aorta (TAA) aneurysm, whose pathogenesis is not yet well understood. We focused on differential analysis of key members of polyamine pathway and on polyamine concentration in non-dilated TAA samples from patients with either stenotic tricuspid aortic valve (TAV) or BAV (diameter ≤ 45 mm), vs. normal aortas from organ donors, with the aim of revealing a potential involvement of polyamines in early aortopathy. Changes of gene expression in TAA samples were evaluated by RT-PCR. Changes of ornithine decarboxylase 1 (ODC1), a key enzyme in polyamine formation, and cationic amino acid transporter 1 (SLC7A1/CAT-1) expression were analyzed also by Western blot. ODC1 subcellular localization was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Polyamine concentration in TAA samples was evaluated by HPLC. BAV TAA samples showed an increased concentration of putrescine and spermidine vs. TAV and donor samples, together with a decreased mRNA level of polyamine anabolic enzymes and of the putative polyamine transporter SLC7A1/CAT-1. The catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase 1 showed a significant mRNA increase in TAV samples only, together with a decreased concentration of spermine. The decreased expression of SLC7A1/CAT-1 and ODC1 mRNAs in BAV corresponded to increased or unchanged expression of the respective proteins. ODC was located mainly in smooth muscle cell (SMC) nucleus in TAV and donor samples, while it was present also in SMC cytoplasm in BAV samples, suggesting its activation. In conclusion, BAV, but not TAV non-dilated samples show increased polyamine concentration, accompanied by the activation of a regulatory negative feedback mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalHeart and Vessels
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Mar

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems

Free keywords

  • Aneurysm
  • Aortopathy
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Ornithine decarboxylase
  • Polyamines
  • Thoracic ascending aorta


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