Effect of flow direction on the morphological responses of cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells

N. Kataoka, S. Ujita, M. Sato

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The effect of flow direction on the morphology of cultured bovine aortic endothelial cells is studied. Fully confluent endothelial cells cultured on glass were subjected to a fluid-imposed shear stress of 2 Pa for 20 min and 24 h using a parallel plate flow chamber. Experiments on shear flow exposure were performed for (i) one-way flow, (ii) reciprocating flow with a 30 min interval and (iii) alternating orthogonal flows with a 30 min interval. After flow exposure, the endothelial cells were fixed and F-actin filaments were stained with rhodamine phalloidin. Endothelial cells were observed and photographed by means of a microscope equipped with epifluorescence optics. The shape index (SI) and angle of cell orientation were measured, and F-actin distributions in the cells were statistically studied. Endothelial cells under the one-way flow condition showed marked elongation (SI = 0.39 ± 0.16, mean ± S.D.) and aligned with the flow direction. In the case of the reciprocating (SI = 0.63 ± 0.14) and the alternating orthogonal flows (0.64 ± 0.14), cells did not elongate so strongly as in the case of one-way flow. Although most cells in the reciprocating flow aligned with the flow direction, the cell axes in the alternate orthogonal flow distributed around a mean value of -45.1°with a large S.D. value. Endothelial cells can be expected to recognise the flow direction, and change their shape and F-actin structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell morphology
  • Endothelial cells
  • F-actin filament
  • Flow direction
  • Shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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