Evidence for a reversal with age in the pattern of near-wall blood flow around aortic branches


      The changes that occur with age in the distribution of atherosclerotic lesions around arterial branch points challenge accepted theories relating disease to haemodynamic stresses. We investigated whether flow near branch points changes with age in a way that can account for the different lesion distributions. Flow around 20 branches from immature and mature aortas was investigated by examining the length:width ratio and orientation of endothelial nuclei; these properties depend on the magnitude and direction of near-wall flows, respectively. There were significant changes in the pattern of nuclear shape with age, consistent with a reversal in the pattern of shear around branches. In control regions away from branches, there were no such changes. The role of haemodynamic stresses in atherogenesis may require re-evaluation in the light of these results.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Atherosclerosis
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Sinzinger H.
        • Silberbauer K.
        • Auerswald W.
        Quantitative investigation of sudanophilic lesions around the aortic ostia of human fetuses.
        Blood Vessels. 1980; 17: 44-52
        • Caro C.G.
        • Fitz-Gerald J.M.
        • Schröter R.M.
        Atheroma and arterial wall shear: observation, correlation and proposal of a shear dependent mass transfer mechanism for atherogenesis.
        Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 1971; 177: 109-159
        • Svindland A.
        • Walløe L.
        Distribution pattern for sudanophilic plaques in the descending thoracic and proximal abdominal aorta.
        Arteriosclerosis. 1985; 57: 219-224
        • Sloop G.D.
        • Perret R.S.
        • Brahney J.S.
        • Oalmann M.
        A description of two morphologic patterns of aortic fatty streaks, and a hypothesis of their pathogenesis.
        Arteriosclerosis. 1998; 141: 153-160
        • Barnes S.E.
        • Weinberg P.D.
        Contrasting patterns of spontaneous aortic disease in young and old rabbits.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 1998; 18: 300-308
        • Barnes S.E.
        • Weinberg P.D.
        Two patterns of disease in the cholesterol-fed rabbit.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 1999; 19: 2376-2386
        • Barnes S.E.
        • Weinberg P.D.
        Strain-dependent differences in the pattern of aortic lipid deposition in cholesterol-fed rabbits.
        Exp. Mol. Pathol. 2001; 71: 161-170
        • Flaherty J.T.
        • Pierce J.E.
        • Ferrans V.J.
        • Patel D.J.
        • Tucker W.K.
        • Fry D.L.
        Endothelial nuclear patterns in the canine arterial tree with particular reference to haemodynamic events.
        Circ. Res. 1972; 30: 23-33
        • Levesque M.
        • Liepsch D.
        • Moravec S.
        • Nerem R.M.
        Correlation of endothelial cell shape and wall shear stress in a stenosed dog aorta.
        Arteriosclerosis. 1986; 6: 220-229
        • Kim D.W.
        • Gotlieb A.I.
        • Langille B.L.
        In vivo modulation of endothelial F-actin microfilaments by experimental alterations in shear stress.
        Arteriosclerosis. 1989; 9: 439-445
        • Walpola P.L.
        • Gotlieb A.I.
        • Langile B.L.
        Monocyte adhesion and changes in endothelial cell number, morphology and F-actin distribution elicited by low shear stress in vivo.
        Am. J. Pathol. 1993; 142: 1392-1400
        • Dewey Jr., C.F.
        • Bussolari S.R.
        • Gimbrone Jr., M.A.
        • Davies P.F.
        The dynamic response of vascular endothelial cells to fluid shear stress.
        J. Biomech. Eng. 1981; 103: 177-185
        • Eskin S.G.
        • Ives C.L.
        • McIntire L.V.
        • Navarro L.T.
        Response of cultured endothelial cells to steady flow.
        Microvasc. Res. 1984; 28: 87-94
        • Levesque M.J.
        • Nerem R.M.
        The elongation and orientation of cultured endothelial cells in response to shear stress.
        J. Biomech. Eng. 1985; 107: 341-347
        • Zhao S.
        • Suciu A.
        • Ziegler T.
        • Moore Jr., J.E.
        • Bürki E.
        • Meister J.-J.
        • et al.
        Synergistic effects of fluid shear stress and cyclic circumferential stretch on vascular endothelial cell morphology and cytoskeleton.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 1995; 15: 1781-1786
        • Langille B.L.
        • Adamson S.L.
        Relationship between blood flow direction and endothelial cell orientation at arterial branch sites in rabbits and mice.
        Circ. Res. 1981; 48: 481-488
        • Okano M.
        • Yoshida Y.
        Influences of shear stress on endothelial cell shapes and junction complexes at flow dividers of aortic bifurcations in cholesterol-fed rabbits.
        Frontiers Med. Biol. Eng. 1993; 5: 95-120
        • Malinauskas R.A.
        • Sarraf P.
        • Barber K.M.
        • Truskey G.A.
        Association between secondary flow in models of the aorto-celiac junction and subendothelial macrophages in the normal rabbit.
        Atherosclerosis. 1998; 140: 121-134
        • Cheer A.Y.
        • Dwyer H.A.
        • Barakat A.I.
        • Sy E.
        • Bice M.
        Computational study of the effect of geometric and flow parameters on the steady flow field at the rabbit aorto-celiac bifurcation.
        Biorheology. 1998; 35: 415-435
        • Helmlinger G.
        • Geiger R.V.
        • Schreck S.
        • Nerem R.M.
        Effects of pulsatile flow on cultured vascular endothelial cell morphology.
        J. Biomech. Eng. 1991; 113: 123-131
        • Forster B.A.
        • Weinberg P.D.
        Changes with age in the influence of endogenous nitric oxide on transport properties of the rabbit aortic wall near branches.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 1997; 17: 1361-1368
        • Staughton T.J.
        • Lever M.J.
        • Weinberg P.D.
        Effect of altered flow on the pattern of permeability around rabbit aortic branches.
        Am. J. Physiol. 2001; 281: H53-H59
        • Ewins B.A.
        • Majewicz J.
        • Staughton T.J.
        • Weinberg P.D.
        2-D maps of short-term albumin uptake by the immature and mature rabbit aortic wall around branch points.
        J. Biomech. Eng. 2002; 124: 684-690