Cardiovascular disease can alter the mechanical environment of the vascular system, leading to mechano-adaptive growth and remodeling. Predictive models of arterial mechano-adaptation could improve patient treatments and outcomes in cardiovascular disease. Vessel-scale mechano-adaptation includes remodeling of both the cells and extracellular matrix. Here, we aimed to experimentally measure and characterize a phenomenological mechano-adaptation law for vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) within an artery. To do this, we developed a highly controlled and reproducible system for applying a chronic step-change in strain to individual VSMCs with in vivo like architecture and tracked the temporal cellular stress evolution. We found that a simple linear growth law was able to capture the dynamic stress evolution of VSMCs in response to this mechanical perturbation. These results provide an initial framework for development of clinically relevant models of vascular remodeling that include VSMC adaptation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge our funding from the National Science Foundation CMMI-1553255 (PWA, JLH), National Institute of Health 1R03EB016969 (PWA), and American Heart Association AHA15PRE21790000 (KES) and AHA16PRE27770112 (ZW).
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