School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems
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The three-dimensional surface topography of an endothelial monolayer aligned by flow in vitro. The surface geometry was measured by Atomic Force Microscopy on living cells. Computational Fluid Dynamics was used to calculate the shear stress distribution on the endothelial surface due to flow over the surface. Shear stress values, shown in pseudocolor, vary from the nominal wall shear stress by +/- 29%. This stress concentration, as well as the spatial gradient in shear stress, is greatly reduced for the aligned monolayer compared to unaligned controls. The detailed information provided by these studies has led to new hypotheses regarding the mechanisms of mechanotransduction in endothelium. Studies are underway to further dissect the role of mechanical forces in the normal physiology of endothelial cells and in endothelial dysfunction associated with vascular disease. Stay tuned...