Researchers at the University of Washington have studied vessel walls and found the cells pull more tightly together, reducing vascular leakage, in areas of fast-flowing blood. The finding could influence how doctors design drugs to treat high cholesterol, or how cardiac surgeons plan their procedures.
Nathan Sniadecki, University of Washington
A layer of cells that coat the pulmonary artery grown on a bed of silicon microposts. After being exposed to a rapid flow, the cells make tighter junctions and tug more strongly on their neighbors.
Their paper will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
"Our results indicate that these cells can sense the kind of flow that they’re in, and structurally change how they hold themselves together," said lead author Nathan Sniadecki, a UW assistant professor of mechanical engineering. "This highlights the role that cellular forces play in the progression of cardiovascular disease."
It's known that the arteries carrying blood are leakier in areas of slow flow, promoting cholesterol buildup in those areas. But medical researchers believed this leakage was mostly biochemical – that cells would sense the slower flow and modify how proteins and enzymes function inside the cell to allow for more exchange.
The new results show that, like a group of schoolchildren huddling closer in a gust of wind, the cells also pull more tightly together when the blood is flowing past.
"The mechanical tugging force leads to a biochemical change that allows more and more proteins at the membrane to glue together," Sniadecki said. "We're still trying to understand what's happening here, and how mechanical tugging leads more proteins to localize and glue at the interface."
Sniadecki's group looks at the biomechanics of individual cells. For this experiment, they grew a patch of human endothelial cells, the thin layer of cells that line the inner walls of arteries and veins and act as a sort of nonstick coating for the vessels' walls. They grew the patch on an area about the width of a human hair, manufactured with 25 by 25 tiny flexible silicon posts.The researchers then looked at how much the cells bent the posts under different flow conditions in order to calculate how strongly the cells were tugging on their neighbors. When the flow was fast, the force between the cells increased, while the gaps between cells shrank.
"People could do simulations so a surgeon goes, ‘Ah, I should cut here versus over here, because that reconstruction will be a smoother vessel and will lead to fewer complications down the line, or as I put this stent in, put it here and make it more aerodynamic in design,'" Sniadecki said.
Co-authors are Lucas Ting, Joon Jung, Benjamin Shuman, Shirin Feghhi, Sangyoon Han, Marita Rodriguez in the UW's department of mechanical engineering, and Jessica Jahn at UW Medicine.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the UW Medical Student Research Training Program and the UW Royalty Research Fund.
For more information, contact Sniadecki at 206-685-6591 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Hickey | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy