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J Biomech. 2001 Jan;34(1):95-103.

Local hemodynamics affect monocytic cell adhesion to a three-dimensional flow model coated with E-selectin.

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  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Monocyte adhesion to the endothelium depends on concentrations of receptors/ligands, local concentrations of chemoattractants, monocyte transport to the endothelial surface and hemodynamic forces. Monocyte adhesion to the inert surface of a three-dimensional perfusion model was shown to correlate inversely with wall shear stress, but was also affected by flow patterns which influenced the near-wall cell availability. We hypothesized that (a) under the same flow conditions, insolubilized E-selectin on the model's surface may mediate adhesive interactions at higher wall shear stresses, compared to an uncoated model, and (b) pulsatile flow may modify the adhesion profile obtained under steady flow. An axisymmetric flow model with a stenosis and a sudden expansion produced a range of wall shear stresses and a separated flow with recirculation and reattachment. Pre-activated U937 cells were perfused through the model under either steady (Re = 100, 140) or pulsatile (Remean = 107) flow. The velocity field was characterized through computational fluid dynamics and validated by inert particle tracking. Surface E-selectin greatly increased cell adhesion in all regions at Re = 100 and 140, compared to an uncoated model under the same flow conditions. In regions where the cells near the wall were abundant (taper and stenosis), adhesion to E-selectin correlated with the reciprocal of local wall shear stress when flow was steady. Pulsatile flow distributed the adherent cells more evenly throughout the coated model. Hence, characterizing both the local hemodynamics and the biological activity on the vessel wall is important in leukocyte adhesion.

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