The Mechanical Stimuli Control System: Enhancing the Replication of Mechanical Environments Associated with Vascular Disease In Endothelial Cell Studies

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Draper, Michael James
Stress Angle; Stress Angle Device
thesis / dissertation description
Atherosclerosis is a common form of cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death in the United States. Although previous cell studies have explored responses to cyclic stretch and fluid shear stress, orientation of these two parameters have only been orthogonal to one another, which replicates the non-atherogenic conditions of a straight, unbranched vascular segment. However, in tortuous vessels or bifurcations, CFD analysis of flow patterns reveals that pro-atherogenic regions of vasculature exhibit non-perpendicular orientations of cyclic stretch and fluid shear stress, with some discrete spatial angle between the two. The Vascular Stress Angle Device (VSAD) is an in vitro system that replicates the mechanical environments seen in vivo where pro-atherogenic conditions exist (e.g. carotid bifurcation). This study describes the progressive development of the Mechanical Stimuli Control System (MSCS) used by the VSAD to enhance fluid shear stress and cyclic stretch control. The MSCS satisfied 5 out of 6 validation requirements, indicating its pending success in recreating physiological and pathological vascular mechanical environments. By replicating these conditions, the VSAD may serve as a useful tool in studies of the progression of atherosclerosis and therapeutic interventions for pro-atherogenic pathologies.