Multiscale FEM modeling of vascular tone: from membrane currents to vessel mechanics

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2011 Dec;58(12):3456-9. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2011.2162513. Epub 2011 Jul 22.


Regulation of vascular tone is a complex process that remains poorly understood. Here, we present our recent efforts for the development of physiologically realistic models of arterial segments for the analysis of vasoreactivity in health and disease. Multiscale modeling integrates intracellular and cell membrane components into whole-cell models of calcium and membrane potential dynamics. Single-cell models of vascular cells are combined into a multicellular model of the vascular wall, and vessel wall biomechanics are integrated with calcium dynamics in the smooth muscle layer. At each scale, continuum models using finite element method can account for spatial heterogeneity in calcium signaling and for nonuniform deformations of a vessel segment. The outlined approach can be used to investigate cellular mechanisms underlying altered vasoreactivity in hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Finite Element Analysis*
  • Microcirculation / physiology
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology*