Atherosclerosis and the Role of Wall Shear Stress

  • Robert M. Nerem
Part of the Clinical Physiology Series book series (CLINPHY)


Atherosclerosis is the chief cause of death in the United States and in much of the western world. It is a disease of the large- and medium-size arteries. It also is a disease which involves complex interactions between a wide variety of factors (41, 88–90, 101, 114–115). Included in this are: (1) the endogenous cells of the arterial wall, that is, endothelial and smooth muscle cells; (2) formed elements of blood, notably monocytes and platelets; (3) plasma proteins, including low density lipoproteins (LDL); (4) connective tissue elements of the arterial intima; (5) environmental and genetic factors; and (6) hemodynamic-related factors. In this chapter we will be exploring the last of these—the role of blood flow and in particular wall shear stress, the frictional force imposed by flowing blood.


Shear Stress Smooth Muscle Cell Wall Shear Stress Arterial Wall Fluid Shear Stress 
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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© American Physiological Society 1995

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  • Robert M. Nerem

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