Mechanical Factors and Vascular Biology

  • Alain Tedgui
  • Stéphanie Lehoux
  • Bernard Levy
Part of the Basic Science for the Cardiologist book series (BASC, volume 1)


Blood vessels are permanently subjected to mechanical forces in the form of stretch, which, due to the pulsatile nature of blood flow, exposes vessels to cyclic mechanical strain, and shear stress. Blood pressure is the major determinant of vessel stretch. It creates radial and tangential forces which counteract the effects of intraluminal pressure, and which affect all cell types in the vessel. In comparison, fluid shear stress results from the friction of blood against the vessel wall, and it acts in parallel to the vessel surface. Accordingly, shear is sensed principally by endothelial cells, strategically located at the interface between the blood and the vessel wall. Alterations in stretch or shear stress invariably produce transformations in the vessel wall that will aim to accommodate the new conditions and to ultimately restore basal levels of tensile stress and shear stress [1, 2, 3]. Hence, while acute changes in stretch or shear stress correlate with transient adjustments in vessel diameter, mediated through release of vasoactive agonists or change in myogenic tone, chronically altered mechanical forces usually instigate important adaptive alterations of vessel wall shape and composition. The concept of vascular remodeling has therefore been used to describe the transformations that occur in vessels undergoing mechanical stresses.


Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Wall Shear Stress Arterial Wall Focal Adhesion Kinase Focal Adhesion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alain Tedgui
    • 1
  • Stéphanie Lehoux
    • 1
  • Bernard Levy
    • 1
  1. 1.Hôpital LariboisièreINSERM U141 and IFR CirculationParisFrance

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