Twenty-fold Difference in Hemodynamic Wall Shear Stress Between Murine and Human Aortas

J Biomech. 2007;40(7):1594-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.07.020. Epub 2006 Oct 13.


Endothelial cells regulate vascular tone and mural remodelling in a shear-dependent manner that is commonly assumed to keep wall shear stress constant across arteries and species. Allometric arguments show that aortic flow velocity is constant across species, a deduction that is consistent with much experimental data, but the same arguments also show that the shear stress experienced by aortic endothelium will depend inversely on body mass to the 3/8th power, and hence will be 20-fold higher in mice than in men. This conclusion is robust and has important implications for the study of shear-dependent vascular biology and pathology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Aorta / physiopathology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Body Weight
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Species Specificity
  • Stress, Mechanical*