Mechanotransmission in endothelial cells subjected to oscillatory and multi-directional shear flow

Mahsa Dabagh, Payman Jalali, Peter J. Butler, Amanda Randles, John M. Tarbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Local haemodynamics are linked to the non-uniform distribution of atherosclerosic lesions in arteries. Low and oscillatory (reversing in the axial flow direction) wall shear stress (WSS) induce inflammatory responses in endothelial cells (ECs) mediating disease localization. The objective of this study is to investigate computationally howthe flowdirection (reflected in WSS variation on the EC surface over time) influences the forces experienced by structural components of ECs that are believed to play important roles in mechanotransduction. A three-dimensional, multi-scale, multi-component, viscoelastic model of focally adhered ECs is developed, in which oscillatory WSS (reversing or non-reversing) parallel to the principal flow direction, or multi-directional oscillatory WSS with reversing axial and transverse components are applied over the EC surface. The computational model includes the glycocalyx layer, actin cortical layer, nucleus, cytoskeleton, focal adhesions (FAs), stress fibres and adherens junctions (ADJs). We show the distinct effects of atherogenic flowprofiles (reversing unidirectional flowand reversing multi-directional flow) on subcellular structures relative to non-atherogenic flow (non-reversing flow). Reversing flow lowers stresses and strains due to viscoelastic effects, and multi-directional flow alters stress on the ADJs perpendicular to the axial flow direction. The simulations predict forces on integrins, ADJ filaments and other substructures in the range that activate mechanotransduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20170185
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number130
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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