Arterial in vitro remodeling analysis of biomechanical and biological factors influencing the adaptive response

Vascular remodeling is defined as any enduring change in the size and composition of an adult blood vessel, allowing adaptation or repair. The vascular remodeling response has been shown to depend on a variety of endogenous and environmental factors. Physiological remodeling is a tightly regulated process that mainly occurs in response to long-term changes in hemodynamic conditions. The adaptation to these hemodynamic changes implies the production of mediators that influence structure as well as function. A loss of regulation in the adaptive response underlies the pathogenesis of major cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, restenosis and arterial aneurismal dilatation. Specialized enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been shown to have a predominant participation in the reorganization of the vessel structure, through the degradation of the extracellular matrix scaffold. The aim of this thesis is to gain insight in the biological and mechanical processes taking place in the vascular wall as an adaptive response to different biomechanical stimuli such as blood pressure and blood flow. This work proposes a new model for the study of vascular remodeling where physical factors acting on the arterial wall can be dissociated and analyzed, individually, in relation to the biological response. The results are presented in form of an introduction, three scientific papers and a conclusion section. The investigation has been designed around three different approaches: adaptation of a non-uniform artery to an in vitro environment, vascular adaptation to steady and pulsatile pressure and vascular adaptation to unidirectional and oscillatory flow. The adaptive response to each one of the variables chosen has been analyzed through biological and biomechanical remodeling indicators of the arterial wall. The introduction is an overview of the biological and biomechanical characteristics of arterial wall in relation to the remodeling process. The contribution of vascular smooth muscle cells and extracellular matrix to physiological and pathological arterial remodeling is discussed. Paper I assesses the relative remodeling of a non-axisymmetric artery in relation to its environment. The study considers the native circumferential asymmetry of the porcine right common carotid, which results from the non-homogenous mechanical and hemodynamic native environment. The adaptive response of the artery to an in vitro perfusion environment is analyzed. The study shows that in vitro perfusion leads, through remodeling, to a circumferentially uniform scleroprotein distribution and to a change in arterial compliance. This study emphasizes the link between structural changes, the biomechanical response and the enzymatic implication in the adaptive response. In paper II we investigate the role of continuous and cyclic stretch, produced by steady or pulsatile pressure acting on the arterial wall, on the remodeling response. The study shows that exposure to continuous and cyclic stretch differentially affects the relative scleroprotein content and leads to a change in arterial wall stiffness. The adaptive outcome is studied through an integrative approach taking into consideration the geometrical and structural adaptation, the biomechanical behavior and the enzymatic agents implicated in extracellular matrix turnover. Paper III analyzes the influence of different flow patterns on the arterial adaptive response. We investigate the differential effects of oscillatory flow, mimicking a plaque-prone hemodynamic environment, and unidirectional flow, to mimicking a physiologically protective (plaquefree) environment. The effect of these hemodynamic forces on the remodeling response are characterized through the study of endothelial and smooth muscle cell function as well as through assessment of agents influencing extracellular matrix turnover. The conclusions section presents a synthesis of the results and contribution of this thesis and proposes perspectives for future studies.

Stergiopulos, Nikolaos
Lausanne, EPFL
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis2969-2

 Record created 2005-03-16, last modified 2018-03-17

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