Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 122–128 | Cite as

Effect of flow direction on the morphological responses of cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells

  • N. Kataoka
  • S. Ujita
  • M. Sato
Cellular Engineering


The effect of flow direction on the morphology of cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells is studied. Fully confluent endothelial cells cultured on glass were subjected to a fluid-imposed shear stress of 2 Pa for 20 min and 24 h using a parallel plate flow chamber. Experiments on shear flow exposure were performed for (i) one-way flow, (ii) reciprocating flow with a 30 min interval and (iii) alternating orthogonal flows with a 30 min interval. After flow exposure, the endothelial cells were fixed and F-actin filaments were stained with rhodamine phalloidin. Endothelial cells were observed and photographed by means of a microscope equipped with epifluorescence optics. The shape index (SI) and angle of cell orientation were measured, and F-actin distributions in the cells were statistically studied. Endothelial cells under the one-way flow condition showed marked elongation (SI=0.39±0.16, mean±S.D.) and aligned with the flow direction. In the case of the reciprocating (SI=0.63±0.14) and the alternating orthogonal flows (0.64±0.14), cells did not elongate so strongly as in the case of one-way flow. Although most cells in the reciprocating flow aligned with the flow direction, the cell axes in the alternate orthogonal flow distributed around a mean value of −45.1° with a large S.D. value. Endothelial cells can be expected to recognise the flow direction, and change their shape and F-actin structure.


Endothelial cells Shear stress Flow direction Cell morphology F-actin filament 


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Copyright information

© IFMBE 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Mechanical EngineeringTohoku UniversitySendai, MiyagiJapan

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