Mapping vascular response to in vivo hemodynamics: application to increased flow at the basilar terminus

Biomech Model Mechanobiol. 2010 Aug;9(4):421-34. doi: 10.1007/s10237-009-0185-y. Epub 2010 Jan 7.


Hemodynamic forces play critical roles in vascular pathologies such as atherosclerosis, aneurysms, and stenosis. However, detailed relationships between the specific in vivo hemodynamic microenvironment and vascular responses leading to the triggering or exacerbation of pathological remodeling of the vessel remain elusive. We have developed a hemodynamics-biology co-mapping technique that enables in situ correlation between the in vivo blood flow field and vascular changes secondary to hemodynamic insult. The hemodynamics profile is obtained from computational fluid dynamics simulation within the vascular geometry reconstructed from three-dimensional in vivo images, whereas the vascular response is obtained from histology or immunohistochemistry on harvested vascular tissue. The hemodynamics field is virtually sectioned in the histological slicing planes and digitally co-mapped with the histological images, thereby enabling correlation of the specific local vascular responses with the inciting hemodynamic stresses. We demonstrate application of this technique to rabbit basilar terminus subjected to elevated flow. Morphological changes at the basilar terminus 5 days after the flow increase were co-mapped with the initial wall shear stress and wall shear stress gradient distributions, from which localization of destructive remodeling in a specific hemodynamic zone was noticed. This method paves the way for further investigations to determine the connection between in vivo mechanical stimuli and biological responses, such as initiation of aneurysmal remodeling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction
  • Animals
  • Basilar Artery / physiology*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / physiology
  • Female
  • Hemorheology / physiology*
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology
  • Rabbits