Heart valves strive to get oxygen one way or another
As the valves in a heart stretch with each beat, their cells take in life-giving oxygen. But if the supply is cut off, aortic and mitral valves use different strategies to compensate, according to Rice University scientists.
Rice bioengineers led by Jane Grande-Allen studied physical and computer models of heart valves to learn how oxygen feeds them and what happens if they become diseased.
They were surprised to find the two distinct types of valves they studied - the three-leaflet aortic valve between the left ventricle and the aorta and the two-leaflet mitral valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle - handle the stress of oxygen starvation differently....