Effects of wall shear stress and fluid recirculation on the localization of circulating monocytes in a three-dimensional flow model

William F. Pritchard, Peter F. Davies, Ziba Derafshi, Denise C. Polacek, Raychang Tsao, Randall O. Dull, Steven A. Jones, Don P. Giddens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations


There is a correlation between the location of early atherosclerotic lesions and the hemodynamic characteristics at those sites. Circulating monocytes are key cells in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic plaques and localize at sites of atherogenesis. The hypothesis that the distribution of monocyte adhesion to the vascular wall is determined in part by hemodynamic factors was addressed by studying monocyte adhesion in an in vitro flow model in the absence of any biological activity in the model wall. Suspensions of U937 cells were perfused (Re = 200) through an axisymmetric silicone flow model with a stenosis followed by a reverse step. The model provided spatially varying wall shear stress, flow separation and reattachment, and a three-dimensional flow pattern. The cell rolling velocity and adhesion rates were determined by analysis of videomicrographs. Wall shear stress was obtained by numerical solution of the equations of fluid motion. Cell adhesion patterns were also studied in the presence of chemotactic peptide gradients. The cell rolling velocity varied linearly with wall shear stress. The adhesion rate tended to decrease with increasing local wall shear stress, but was also affected by the radial component of velocity and the dynamics of the recirculation region and flow reattachment. Adhesion was increased in the vicinity of chemotactic peptide sources downstream of the expansion site. Results with human monocytes were qualitatively similar to the U937 experiments. Differences in the adhesion rates of U937 cells occurring solely as a function of the fluid dynamic properties of the flow field were clearly demonstrated in the absence of any biological activity in the model wall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1459-1469
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes



  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular model
  • Chemotactic factors
  • Hemodynamics
  • Monocyte adhesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation

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