Translational Cardiovascular Biomaterial Research


The calcifying degeneration of the aortic valve is one of the most frequent forms of acquired cardiac diseases with the need of surgical or interventional replacement in advanced stages. Currently available valve prostheses have inherent limitations, which in case of biological valve prostheses mainly consist of progressive degeneration. Thus, it is of major interest to investigate the genesis of valve degeneration and to seek for therapeutic strategies to reduce or even to stop degenerative processes.


It has been demonstrated that pioglitazone, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) agonist may be a potential candidate to inhibit native heart valve degeneration by inhibiting inflammatory cascades by downregulating the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE).


Still unanswered is the impact of pioglitazone on the inflammatory and subsequent calcifying processes that occur in biological heart valves and vascular grafts. Therefore, we like to examine the effect of PPARγ agonists on the in vivo degeneration of biological prostheses in an established chronic model of heterotopic aortic valve implantation. Pursuant to a translational approach, we aim to incorporate typical clinical comorbidities with pathophysiological association with RAGE, as they commonly appear in patients with aortic valve stenosis.


For further information, please contact;



  • Dr. med. Anna Kathrin Assmann
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Payam Akhyari
  • cand. med. Vanessa Winnicki
  • cand. med. Daniel Goschmer

Publications – Articles

  • Sugimura Y*, Schmidt AK*, Lichtenberg A, Assmann A, Akhyari P. A Rat Model for the In Vivo Assessment of Biological and Tissue-Engineered Valvular and Vascular Grafts. Tissue Eng Part C Methods. 2017 Dec;23(12):982-994. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2017.0215. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


Publications – Presentations

  • ISHLT San Diego 2017
  • DGTHG Jahrestagung Leipzig 2018



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