Journal article

The influence of anesthesia and fluid-structure interaction on simulated shear stress patterns in the carotid bifurcation of mice

Background: Low and oscillatory wall shear stresses (WSS) near aortic bifurcations have been linked to the onset of atherosclerosis. In previous work, we calculated detailed WSS patterns in the carotid bifurcation of mice using a Fluid-structure interaction (FSI) approach. We subsequently fed the animals a high-fat diet and linked the results of the FSI simulations to those of atherosclerotic plaque location on a within-subject basis. However, these simulations were based on boundary conditions measured under anesthesia, while active mice might experience different hemodynamics. Moreover, the FSI technique for mouse-specific simulations is both time- and labor-intensive, and might be replaced by simpler and easier Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations. The goal of the current work was (i) to compare WSS patterns based on anesthesia conditions to those representing active resting and exercising conditions; and (ii) to compare WSS patterns based on FSI simulations to those based on steady-state and transient CFD simulations. Methods: For each of the 3 computational techniques (steady state CFD, transient CFD, FSI) we performed 5 simulations: 1 for anesthesia, 2 for conscious resting conditions and 2 more for conscious active conditions. The inflow, pressure and heart rate were scaled according to representative in vivo measurements obtained from literature. Results: When normalized by the maximal shear stress value, shear stress patterns were similar for the 3 computational techniques. For all activity levels, steady state CFD led to an overestimation of WSS values, while FSI simulations yielded a clear increase in WSS reversal at the outer side of the sinus of the external carotid artery that was not visible in transient CFD-simulations. Furthermore, the FSI simulations in the highest locomotor activity state showed a flow recirculation zone in the external carotid artery that was not present under anesthesia. This recirculation went hand in hand with locally increased WSS reversal. Conclusions: Our data show that FSI simulations are not necessary to obtain normalized WSS patterns, but indispensable to assess the oscillatory behavior of the WSS in mice. Flow recirculation and WSS reversal at the external carotid artery may occur during high locomotor activity while they are not present under anesthesia. These phenomena might thus influence plaque formation to a larger extent than what was previously assumed. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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