How Does the Arterial Endothelium Sense Flow? Hemodynamic Forces and Signal Transduction
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The focal nature of atherosclerotic lesions is associated with patterns of altered blood flow in the major arteries (1–3), although the precise nature of the flow in such regions is unclear. At the interface between flowing blood and the arterial wall, a confluent monolayer of endothelial cells operates as a signal-transduction system for hemodynamic forces associated with flow. Investigations of the influence of pressure, stretch and shear stress upon endothelial biology have therefore been conducted with a view to linking the precise flow profiles and the vessel wall pathophysiology. It is now clear that early atherogenesis develops in the presence of an intact endothelial monolayer (4–6, 10) consistent with the pivotal role that the endothelium may play in this disease process. The mechanisms by which physical forces influence endothelial biology, however, have yet to be fully defined.
KeywordsShear Stress Wall Shear Stress Pulsatile Flow Fluid Shear Stress Shear Stress Level
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