Heart valve leaflets are complex structures containing valve endothelial cells, interstitial cells, and extracellular matrix. Heart valve endothelial cells sense mechanical stimuli, and communicate amongst themselves and the surrounding cells and extracellular matrix to maintain tissue homeostasis. In the presence of abnormal mechanical stimuli, endothelial cell communication is triggered in defense and such processes may eventually lead to cardiac disease progression. This review focuses on the role of mechanical stimuli on heart valve endothelial surfaces—from heart valve development and maintenance of tissue integrity to disease progression with related signal pathways involved in this process.
- Endothelial to mesenchymal transition
- Heart valve
- Shear stress
- Tissue strain
- Valve endothelial cells