Direct measurement of shear strain in adherent vascular endothelial cells exposed to fluid shear stress

Yosuke Ueki, Naoya Sakamoto, Masaaki Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Functional and morphological responses of endothelial cells (ECs) to fluid shear stress are thought to be mediated by several mechanosensitive molecules. However, how the force due to fluid shear stress applied to the apical surface of ECs is transmitted to the mechanosensors is poorly understood. In the present paper, we performed an analysis of an intracellular mechanical field by observation of the deformation behaviors of living ECs exposed to shear stress with a novel experimental method. Lateral images of human umbilical vein ECs before and after the onset of flow were obtained by confocal microscopy, and image correlation and finite element analysis were performed for quantitative analyses of subcellular strain due to shear stress. The shear strain of the cells changed from 1.06 ± 1.09% (mean ± SD) to 4.67 ± 1.79% as the magnitude of the shear stress increased from 2 to 10 Pa. The nuclei of ECs also exhibited shear deformation, which was similar to that observed in cytoplasm, suggesting that nuclei transmit forces from apical to intracellular components, as well as cytoskeletons. The obtained strain-stress relation resulted in a mean shear modulus of 213 Pa for adherent ECs. These results provide a mechanical perspective on the investigation of flow-sensing mechanisms of ECs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-99
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar 26
Externally publishedYes


  • Confocal microscopy
  • Endothelial cell
  • Fluid shear stress
  • Force transmission
  • Shear modulus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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