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RESEARCH PAPERS

Effects of Disturbed Flow On Endothelial Cells

[+] Author and Article Information
J.-J. Chiu, D. L. Wang

Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan

S. Chien, R. Skalak

Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0412

S. Usami

Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan; Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0412

J Biomech Eng 120(1), 2-8 (Feb 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2834303 History: Received September 22, 1995; Revised May 05, 1997; Online January 07, 2008

Abstract

Atherosclerotic lesions tend to localize at curvatures and branches of the arterial system, where the local flow is often disturbed and irregular (e.g., flow separation, recirculation, complex flow patterns, and nonuniform shear stress distributions). The effects of such flow conditions on cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were studied in vitro by using a vertical-step flow channel (VSF). Detailed shear stress distributions and flow structures have been computed by using the finite volume method in a general curvilinear coordinate system. HUVECs in the reattachment areas with low shear stresses were generally rounded in shape. In contrast, the cells under higher shear stresses were significantly elongated and aligned with the flow direction, even for those in the area with reversed flow. When HUVECs were subjected to shearing in VSF, their actin stress fibers reorganized in association with the morphological changes. The rate of DNA synthesis in the vicinity of the flow reattachment area was higher than that in the laminar flow area. These in vitro experiments have provided data for the understanding of the in vivo responses of endothelial cells under complex flow environments found in regions of prevalence of atherosclerotic lesions.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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