, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 593-604
Date: 25 Mar 2006

A Validated System for Simulating Common Carotid Arterial Flow In Vitro: Alteration of Endothelial Cell Response

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Pulsations in blood flow alter gene and protein expressions in endothelial cells (EC). A computer-controlled system was developed to mimic the common carotid artery flow waveform and shear stress levels or to provide steady flow of the same mean shear stress in a parallel plate flow chamber. The pseudo-steady state shear stress was determined from real-time pressure gradient measurements and compared to the Navier–Stokes equation solution. Following 24 h of steady flow (SF: 13 dyne/cm2), pulsatile arterial flow (AF: average=13 dyne/cm2, range=7–25 dyne/cm2) or static conditions, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and prostaglandin H synthase-2 (PGHS-2) mRNA and protein expressions from human umbilical vein endothelial cells were measured. Relative to steady flow, pulsatile arterial flow significantly attenuated mRNA upregulation of HO-1 (SF: 7.26±2.70-fold over static, AF: 4.84±0.37-fold over static; p < 0.01) and PGHS-2 (SF: 6.11±1.79-fold over static, AF: 3.54±0.79-fold over static; p < 0.001). Pulsatile arterial flow (4.57±0.81-fold over static, p < 0.01) also significantly reduced the steady-flow-induced HO-1 protein upregulation (7.99±1.29-fold over static). These findings reveal that EC can discriminate between different flow patterns of the same average magnitude and respond at the molecular level.