Coupling of Arterial Wall Cell Dynamics and Blood Flow
Thesis DisciplineMechanical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The objective of this research is to investigate both mathematically and numerically the effects of vascular geometry upon the cellular dynamics in the endothelium and its consequence in the localisation of atherosclerosis. It is widely accepted that the formation of atherosclerotic plaques preferentially occurs at specific locations in the vasculature, such as arterial branches and bends. It has also been observed that, at the sites of plaque formation, the physiological functions of the vascular endothelium are impaired due to a defect in the production mechanisms of or diminished activities of endothelial nitric oxide (NO). From these observations, a correlation between the vascular geometry, which is effected via local haemodynamic forces, and local bioavailability of endothelial NO has been postulated. The research areas that have been involved in the investigation of atherosclerosis's localisation in the past, haemodynamics, medicine, calcium dynamics, NO kinetics and endothelial cell biology, have been studied individually, and there appears to be no integrated model to date that allows investigation of coupled haemodynamic and cellular mechanism applied in physiologically realistic model geometries. An integrated numerical model that includes these mechanisms will be developed in this research, which will lead to a further, more comprehensive understanding of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.