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 email@example.com
Hannah Hickey | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy