Aortic valve-derived calcifyng nanoparticles: No evidence of life

Ignasi Barba, Eduardo Villacorta, Miguel Angel Bratos-Perez, Maria Antolín, Encarna Varela, Pedro Luís Sanchez, Pilar Tornos, David Garcia-Dorado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and objectives: Calcifying nanoparticles, also known as "nanobacteria," are very small bacteria-like structures (0.1-0.5 μm) with the ability to facilitate the precipitation and growth of calcium phosphate in pathological conditions and have been associated with aortic valve calcification. The status of nanobacteria is controversial; some have proposed that they are a new class of living organism while others describe calcifying nanoparticles as mineralo-fetuin complexes. The objective of the present study is to elucidate if calcifying nanoparticles are living entities, based on whether or not they have metabolic activity, a characteristic of life, irrespective of their composition. Methods: Calcifying nanoparticles were grown from 6 different valves randomly chosen among 84 consecutively explanted aortic valves, as described in the literature. The 1H-NMR spectra were acquired from calcifying nanoparticles culture media to assess metabolic changes and the presence of 16sRNA in the culture media was investigated by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Results: After 6 weeks in culture, calcifying nanoparticles could be seen clearly attached to the surface of culture flasks. All samples were negative for 16sRNA, discarding the presence of known bacteria. 1H-NMR spectra showed no difference between calcifying nanoparticles and 6-week-old sterile culture media maintained under the same conditions. Conclusions: Our results show that calcifying nanoparticles cannot be considered as living organisms. © 2011 Sociedad Española de Cardiología. Published by Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-818
JournalRevista Espanola de Cardiologia
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2012


  • Calcifying nanoparticles
  • Infection
  • Metabolic profiling
  • Nanobacteria
  • Valves


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