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Am J Pathol. 1988 Nov;133(2):407-18.

Endothelial adaptations in aortic stenosis. Correlation with flow parameters.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655.


A 69 +/- 5% stenosis was produced in the rat aorta, with the purpose of correlating endothelial changes with local flow patterns and with levels of shear stress; the hydrodynamic data were obtained from a scaled-up model of the stenosed aorta. In the throat of the stenosis, where shear stress values were 15-25 times normal, the endothelium was stripped off within 1 hour. It regenerated at half the rate of controls but modulated into a cell type that could withstand the increased shear stress. Adaptations included changes in cell orientation, number, length, width, thickness, stress fibers, and anchoring structures, as well as changes in the length, argyrophilia, and permeability of the junctions. Areas of either elongated or "polygonal" cells consistently developed at the same sites in relation to the stenosis, but the hydrodynamic data showed that they did not always correspond (as had been anticipated) to high and low shear, respectively. It is concluded that endothelial cell shape in the living artery must be determined by some other factor(s) in addition to shear stress.

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