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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2008 May;46(5):479-84. doi: 10.1007/s11517-008-0304-4.

The development of the heart and microcirculation: role of shear stress.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Embryology, LUMC, Leiden, The Netherlands.


It is evident that hemodynamic factors have a dominant function already during early cardiogenesis. Flow and ensuing shear stress are sensed by endothelial cells by, ciliary modified, cytoskeletal deformation which then activates a number of subcellular structures and molecules. Shear stress dependent changes mostly converge towards NF kappa B signaling and DNA binding, thereby altering metabolic paths and influencing differentiation of the cells. Geometry of the vascular system heavily affects the flow and shear patterns, as is the case in the adult vasculature where atheroprone areas nicely coincide with the frequency of the primary cilium as shear stress sensor.

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