Modeling Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis Syndrome Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Circulation (2012)


BACKGROUND: Supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) is caused by mutations in the elastin (ELN) gene and is characterized by abnormal proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) that can lead to narrowing or blockage of the ascending aorta and other arterial vessels. Availability of patient-specific SMCs may facilitate studying disease mechanisms and developing novel therapeutic interventions. METHODS AND RESULTS: Here, we report the development of a human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line from a patient with SVAS caused by the premature termination in exon 10 of the ELN gene due to an exon 9 4-nucleotide insertion. We showed that SVAS iPSC-derived SMCs (iPSC-SMCs) had significantly fewer organized networks of smooth muscle alpha actin (SM α-actin) filament bundles, a hallmark of mature contractile SMCs, compared to control iPSC-SMCs. Addition of elastin recombinant protein or enhancement of small GTPase RhoA signaling was able to rescue the formation of SM α-actin filament bundles in SVAS iPSC-SMCs. Cell counts and BrdU analysis revealed a significantly higher proliferation rate in SVAS iPSC-SMCs than control iPSC-SMCs. Furthermore, SVAS iPSC-SMCs migrated at a markedly higher rate to the chemotactic agent platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in comparison with the control iPSC-SMCs. We also provided evidence that elevated activity of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) is required for hyper-proliferation of SVAS iPSC-SMCs. The phenotype was confirmed in iPSC-SMCs generated from a patient with deletion of elastin due to Williams-Beuren syndrome (WBS). CONCLUSIONS: Thus, SVAS iPSC-SMCs recapitulate key pathological features of patients with SVAS and may provide a promising strategy to study disease mechanisms and to develop novel therapies.