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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Oct 12;101(41):14871-6. Epub 2004 Oct 4.

Distinct endothelial phenotypes evoked by arterial waveforms derived from atherosclerosis-susceptible and -resistant regions of human vasculature.

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  • 1Center for Excellence in Vascular Biology, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Abstract

Atherosclerotic lesion localization to regions of disturbed flow within certain arterial geometries, in humans and experimental animals, suggests an important role for local hemodynamic forces in atherogenesis. To explore how endothelial cells (EC) acquire functional/dysfunctional phenotypes in response to vascular region-specific flow patterns, we have used an in vitro dynamic flow system to accurately reproduce arterial shear stress waveforms on cultured human EC and have examined the effects on EC gene expression by using a high-throughput transcriptional profiling approach. The flow patterns in the carotid artery bifurcations of several normal human subjects were characterized by using 3D flow analysis based on actual vascular geometries and blood flow profiles. Two prototypic arterial waveforms, "athero-prone" and "athero-protective," were defined as representative of the wall shear stresses in two distinct regions of the carotid artery (carotid sinus and distal internal carotid artery) that are typically "susceptible" or "resistant," respectively, to atherosclerotic lesion development. These two waveforms were applied to cultured EC, and cDNA microarrays were used to analyze the differential patterns of EC gene expression. In addition, the differential effects of athero-prone vs. athero-protective waveforms were further characterized on several parameters of EC structure and function, including actin cytoskeletal organization, expression and localization of junctional proteins, activation of the NF-kappaB transcriptional pathway, and expression of proinflammatory cytokines and adhesion molecules. These global gene expression patterns and functional data reveal a distinct phenotypic modulation in response to the wall shear stresses present in atherosclerosis-susceptible vs. atherosclerosis-resistant human arterial geometries.

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PMID:
15466704
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC522013
Free PMC Article

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