When vein segments are implanted into the arterial system for use in arterial bypass grafting, adaptation to the higher pressure and flow of the arterial system is accomplished thorough wall thickening and expansion. These early remodeling events have been found to be closely coupled to the local hemodynamic forces, such as shear stress and wall tension, and are believed to be the foundation for later vein graft failure. To further our mechanistic understanding of the cellular and extracellular interactions that lead to global changes in tissue architecture, a rule-based modeling method is developed through the application of basic rules of behaviors for these molecular and cellular activities. In the current method, smooth muscle cell (SMC), extracellular matrix (ECM), and monocytes are selected as the three components that occupy the elements of a grid system that comprise the developing vein graft intima. The probabilities of the cellular behaviors are developed based on data extracted from in vivo experiments. At each time step, the various probabilities are computed and applied to the SMC and ECM elements to determine their next physical state and behavior. One- and two-dimensional models are developed to test and validate the computational approach. The importance of monocyte infiltration, and the associated effect in augmenting extracellular matrix deposition, was evaluated and found to be an important component in model development. Final model validation is performed using an independent set of experiments, where model predictions of intimal growth are evaluated against experimental data obtained from the complex geometry and shear stress patterns offered by a mid-graft focal stenosis, where simulation results show good agreements with the experimental data.
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