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Blood vessel branch points exhibiting oscillatory/turbulent flow and lower wall shear stress (WSS) are the primary sites of atherosclerosis development. Vascular endothelial functions are essentially dependent on these tangible biomechanical forces including WSS. Herein, we explored the influence of blood vessel bifurcation angles on hemodynamic alterations and associated changes in endothelial function. We generated computer-aided design of a branched human coronary artery followed by 3D printing such designs with different bifurcation angles. Through computational fluid dynamics analysis, we observed that a larger branching angle generated more complex turbulent/oscillatory hemodynamics to impart minimum WSS at branching points. Through the detection of biochemical markers, we recorded significant alteration in eNOS, ICAM1, and monocyte attachment in EC grown in microchannel having 60o vessel branching angle which correlated with the lower WSS. The present study highlights the importance of blood vessel branching angle as one of the crucial determining factors in governing atherogenic-endothelial dysfunction.
Download Ansys Fluid Dynamics Tutorial Inputs.113
With such pivotal roles, studies have accentuated the impact of vessel geometry, velocity distribution and the associated WSS on the localization, progression and clinical outcomes of atheroma development. In a pioneering effort (1969), Caro et al. drew a correlation between arterial flow mechanics and atherosclerotic plaque formation6. Successive efforts concluded that the dispensation of early atheroma in humans aligns with the vessel branch points, which experience substantially reduced wall shear rates7,8,9,10. Analyses through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations have enabled highly precise and clinically relevant ascertainment of such hemodynamic influencers. Numerical simulations with concurrent experimental datasets have implicated increasing angular branch points in generating differential WSS patterns, across the vessel branching points. However, a majority of these reports fail at elaborating on the ramifications of differential WSS patterns caused by incremental angles of bifurcation, on endothelial dysfunction.