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Blood vessels are exposed to multiple mechanical forces that are exerted on the vessel wall (radial, circumferential and longitudinal forces) or on the endothelial surface (shear stress). The stresses and strains experienced by arteries influence the initiation of atherosclerotic lesions, which develop at regions of arteries that are exposed to complex blood flow. In addition, plaque progression and eventually plaque rupture is influenced by a complex interaction between biological and mechanical factors-mechanical forces regulate the cellular and molecular composition of plaques and, conversely, the composition of plaques determines their ability to withstand mechanical load. A deeper understanding of these interactions is essential for designing new therapeutic strategies to prevent lesion development and promote plaque stabilization. Moreover, integrating clinical imaging techniques with finite element modelling techniques allows for detailed examination of local morphological and biomechanical characteristics of atherosclerotic lesions that may be of help in prediction of future events. In this ESC Position Paper on biomechanical factors in atherosclerosis, we summarize the current 'state of the art' on the interface between mechanical forces and atherosclerotic plaque biology and identify potential clinical applications and key questions for future research.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/eurheartj/ehu353

Type

Journal article

Journal

European heart journal

Publication Date

11/2014

Volume

35

Pages

3013 - 3020d

Addresses

Department of Pathology and Immunology, University of Geneva, CMU, Rue Michel-Servet 1, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland brenda.kwakchanson@unige.ch paul.evans@sheffield.ac.uk.

Keywords

Arteries, Endothelium, Vascular, Mechanoreceptors, Endothelial Cells, Humans, Rupture, Spontaneous, Disease Progression, Cell Aging, Signal Transduction, Apoptosis, Cell Proliferation, Homeostasis, Stress, Mechanical, Atherosclerosis, Plaque, Atherosclerotic, Biomechanical Phenomena, Vascular Remodeling, Biomarkers