Within the vasculature endothelial cells are constantly exposed to dynamic mechanical forces generated by pulsatile blood flow. Two stimuli known to modulate endothelial function are shear stress and cyclic circumferential strain. Yet, in most studies these two stimuli are simultaneously coupled in-vivo, making it very difficult to understand their individual contributions to vascular disease. Some attempts have been made to de-couple stretch and shear stress in-vitro by using different cell lines in a variety of stretch systems and flow chambers, straying from reality and making it hard to draw definitive conclusions. In this study we wish to find a compromise between the in-vivo and in-vitro work of the past by studying the independent effects of shear stress and cyclic stretch and how they contribute to endothelial dysfunction.

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