Does arterial shear explain the magnitude of flow-mediated dilation?: a comparison between young and older humans

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2009 Jan;296(1):H57-64. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00980.2008. Epub 2008 Nov 21.


Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) has become a commonly applied approach for the assessment of vascular function and health in humans. Recent studies emphasize the importance of normalizing the magnitude of FMD to its apparent eliciting stimulus, the postdeflation arterial shear. However, the relationship between shear stress and the magnitude of FMD may differ between groups. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the brachial FMD and four different indexes of postdeflation shear rate (SR) in healthy children (n = 51, 10 +/- 1 yr) and young (n = 57, 27 +/- 6 yr) and older (n = 27, 58 +/- 4 yr) adults. SR was calculated from deflation (time 0) until 9 s (peak), 30 s (0-30), 60 s (0-60), or until the time-to-peak diameter in each individual (0-ttp). Edge detection and wall tracking of high resolution B-mode arterial ultrasound images were used to calculate the conduit artery diameter. In young adults, the brachial artery FMD demonstrated a significant correlation with the area under the SR curve (SR(AUC)) 0-30 s (r(2) = 0.12, P = 0.009), 0-60 s (r(2) = 0.14, P = 0.005), and 0-ttp (r(2) = 0.14, P = 0.005) but not for the peak SR(AUC) 0-9 s (r(2) = 0.04, P = 0.12). In children and older adults, the magnitude of the brachial artery FMD did not correlate with any of the four SR(AUC) stimuli. These findings suggest that in young subjects, postdeflation SR(AUC) correlates moderately with the magnitude of the FMD response. However, the relationship between FMD and postdeflation shear appears to be age dependent, with less evidence for an association in younger and older subjects. Therefore, we support presenting SR(AUC) stimuli but not normalizing FMD responses for the SR(AUC) when using this technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Arteries / physiology*
  • Brachial Artery / anatomy & histology
  • Brachial Artery / physiology
  • Child
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology*
  • Vasodilation / physiology*
  • Young Adult