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Mol Cells. 2014 Jun;37(6):435-40. doi: 10.14348/molcells.2014.0078. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

Shear stress and atherosclerosis.

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  • 1Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Hemodynamic shear stress, the frictional force acting on vascular endothelial cells, is crucial for endothelial homeostasis under normal physiological conditions. When discussing blood flow effects on various forms of endothelial (dys)function, one considers two flow patterns: steady laminar flow and disturbed flow because endothelial cells respond differently to these flow types both in vivo and in vitro. Laminar flow which exerts steady laminar shear stress is atheroprotective while disturbed flow creates an atheroprone environment. Emerging evidence has provided new insights into the cellular mechanisms of flow-dependent regulation of vascular function that leads to cardiovascular events such as atherosclerosis, atherothrombosis, and myocardial infarction. In order to study effects of shear stress and different types of flow, various models have been used. In this review, we will summarize our current views on how disturbed flow-mediated signaling pathways are involved in the development of atherosclerosis.

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