While documented risk factors (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, etc.) for atherosclerosis are systemic in nature, atherosclerotic plaques appear in a heterogeneous distribution in the vasculature [1]. Certain arteries (e.g., coronary arteries) are exposed to cyclic deformations such as stretching, bending, and twisting due to their being tethered to surrounding tissue beds [2]. Such stimuli likely results in spatially-varying biomechanical stresses and may be a key modulator of atherosclerotic lesion localization [3]. We have developed a unique methodology for combining ex vivo experimental perfusion of arterial segments with computational modeling. Using this methodology we examined the hypothesis that local variations in shear and mural stress associated with cyclic axial stretch of arterial segments influence the distribution of endothelial permeability and the expression of various genes associated with atherogenesis.

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