Mass Transport Processes in Atherosclerosis

  • M. John Lever
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 166)


During the last decade, the major emphasis in atherosclerosis research has been cell biological, with great advances being made in our understanding of the interactions of formed elements such as platelets with the vessel wall, and of the expression of a variety of substances by components of the vessel wall such as the endothelial cells. A major feature of the atherosclerotic lesion is the deposition of materials to a pathological degree within the interstitial tissue of the intima. Whether this excessive accumulation is a primary process which precipitates other changes, such as the migration of smooth muscle cells or monocytes into the intima, or whether the accumulation is a response to other factors remains unknown. Either way, the accumulation represents a failure of the normal homeostasis of the wall which presumably operates in healthy tissue to maintain a uniform composition of the interstitium. Because the major part of the material deposited consists of blood components such as lipoproteins, fibrinogen and lipids, many attempts have been made to investigate the rates of exchange of these substances between blood and vessel wall tissue. The studies have commonly used tracers to measure transient exchange processes and in doing so, perturbations to normal in vivo transport processes have been introduced, such as artificial concentration gradients. Only more recently has there been a recognition of the importance of the normal flux of most plasma components across the vessel wall, a process that occurs continuously in vivo (Walton 1975, Caro et al., 1980, Truskey et al., 1981, Fry 1987). Rather little attention has been given to the problems of the transport within wall tissue of small molecular weight metabolites or autacoids produced within the wall or at the blood-wall boundary.


Hydraulic Conductivity Transmural Pressure Fluid Flux Wall Tissue Plasma Protein Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. John Lever
    • 1
  1. 1.Physiological Flow Studies UnitImperial CollegeLondonUK

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