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  1. Abstract We propose a relatively simple two-dimensional mathematical model for maladaptive inward remodeling of resistive arteries in hypertension in terms of vascular solid mechanics. The main premises are: (i) maladaptive inward remodeling manifests as a reduced increase in the arterial mass compared to the case of adaptive remodeling under equivalent hypertensive pressures and (ii) the pressure-induced circumferential stress in the arterial wall is restored to its basal target value as happens in the case of adaptive remodeling. The rationale for these assumptions is the experimental findings that elevated tone in association with sustained hypertensive pressure down-regulate the normal differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells from contractile to synthetic phenotype and the data for the calculated hoop stress before and after completion of remodeling. Results from illustrative simulations show that as the hypertensive pressure increases, remodeling causes a nonmonotonic variation of arterial mass, a decrease in inner arterial diameter, and an increase in wall thickness. These findings and the model prediction that inward eutrophic remodeling is preceded by inward hypertrophic remodeling are supported by published observations. Limitations and perspectives for refining the mathematical model are discussed.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Abstract Albeit seldom considered explicitly, the vasoactive state of a central artery can contribute to luminal control and thereby affect the in vivo values of flow-induced wall shear stress and pressure-induced intramural stress, which in turn are strong determinants of wall growth and remodeling. Here, we test the hypothesis that diminished vasoactive capacity compromises effective mechano-adaptations of central arteries. Toward this end, we use consistent methods to re-interpret published data on common carotid artery remodeling in a nonpharmacologic mouse model of induced hypertension and a model of connective tissue disorder that results in Marfan syndrome. The mice have identical genetic backgrounds and, in both cases, the data are consistent with the hypothesis considered. In particular, carotid arteries with strong (normal) vasoactive capacity tend to maintain wall thickness and in vivo axial stretch closer to homeostatic, thus resulting in passive circumferential wall stress and energy storage close to normal. We conclude that effective vasoactivity helps to control the biomechanical state in which the cells and matrix turnover, thus helping to delineate mechano-adaptive from maladaptive remodeling. Future analyses of experimental data and computational models of growth and remodeling should account for this strong coupling between smooth muscle contractile capacity and central arterialmore »remodeling.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  3. Vascular cells restructure extracellular matrix in response to aging or changes in mechanical loading. Here, we characterized collagen architecture during age-related aortic remodeling in atherosclerosis-prone mice. We hypothesized that changes in collagen fiber orientation reflect an altered balance between passive and active forces acting on the arterial wall. We examined two factors that can alter this balance, endothelial dysfunction and reduced smooth muscle cell (SMC) contractility. Collagen fiber organization was visualized by second-harmonic generation microscopy in aortic adventitia of apolipoprotein E (apoE) knockout (KO) mice at 6 wk and 6 mo of age on a chow diet and at 7.5 mo of age on a Western diet (WD), using image analysis to yield mean fiber orientation. Adventitial collagen fibers became significantly more longitudinally oriented with aging in apoE knockout mice on chow diet. Conversely, fibers became more circumferentially oriented with aging in mice on WD. Total collagen content increased significantly with age in mice fed WD. We compared expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and acetylcholine-mediated nitric oxide release but found no evidence of endothelial dysfunction in older mice. Time-averaged volumetric blood flow in all groups showed no significant changes. Wire myography of aortic rings revealed decreases in active stress generation with agemore »that were significantly exacerbated in WD mice. We conclude that the aorta displays a distinct remodeling response to atherogenic stimuli, indicated by altered collagen organization. Collagen reorganization can occur in the absence of altered hemodynamics and may represent an adaptive response to reduced active stress generation by vascular SMCs. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The following major observations were made in this study: 1) aortic adventitial collagen fibers become more longitudinally oriented with aging in apolipoprotein E knockout mice fed a chow diet; 2) conversely, adventitial collagen fibers become more circumferentially oriented with aging in apoE knockout mice fed a high-fat diet; 3) adventitial collagen content increases significantly with age in mice on a high-fat diet; 4) these alterations in collagen organization occur largely in the absence of hemodynamic changes; and 5) circumferential reorientation of collagen is associated with decreased active force generation (contractility) in aged mice on a high-fat diet.« less
  4. The endothelium, composed of a single layer of endothelial cells, is the innermost lining of vessels, acting as the interface between blood and the arterial wall. “Endothelial dysfunction” is defined as reduction or loss of bioavailability of endothelial-derived nitric oxide (NO), a condition that precedes or accompanies several cardiovascular pathologies associated with aging, such as atherosclerosis. [1] [2] NO plays an important role in regulating vascular tone and maintaining vascular homeostasis as a vasodilator. Thus, we hypothesize that decreased NO production may induce collagen fiber reorientation and increased collagen production, to shift load from smooth muscle cells to the extracellular matrix, eventually leading to vascular remodeling. The aim of this project is to study the impact of NO deficiency on hemodynamic parameters, collagen content, and collagen fiber orientation during age-related vascular remodeling using a mouse model.
  5. Abstract—Elastin is a key structural protein and its pathological degradation deterministic in aortic aneurysm (AA) outcomes. Unfortunately, using current diagnostic and clinical surveillance techniques the integrity of the elastic fiber network can only be assessed invasively. To address this, we employed fragmented elastin-targeting gold nanoparticles (EL-AuNPs) as a diagnostic tool for the evaluation of unruptured AAs. Electron dense EL-AuNPs were visualized within AAs using microcomputed tomography (micro-CT) and the corresponding Gold-to-Tissue volume ratios quantified. The Gold-to-Tissue volume ratios correlated strongly with the concentration (0, 0.5, or 10 U/mL) of infused porcine pancreatic elastase and therefore the degree of elastin damage. Hyperspectralmapping confirmed the spatial targeting of the EL-AuNPs to the sites of damaged elastin. Nonparametric Spearman’s rank correlation indicated that the micro-CT-based Gold-to-Tissue volume ratios had a strong correlation with loaded (q = 0.867, p-val = 0.015) and unloaded (q = 0.830, p-val = 0.005) vessel diameter, percent dilation (q = 0.976, p-val = 0.015), circumferential stress (q = 0.673, p-val = 0.007), loaded (q = 2 0.673, p-val = 0.017) and unloaded (q = 2 0.697, p-val = 0.031) wall thicknesses, circumferential stretch (q = 2 0.7234, p-val = 0.018), and lumen area compliance (q = 2 0.831, p-valmore »= 0.003). Likewise, in terms of axial force and axial stress vs. stretch, the post-elastase vessels were stiffer. Collectively, these findings suggest that, when combined with CT imaging, EL-AuNPs can be used as a powerful tool in the non-destructive estimation of mechanical and geometric features of AAs.« less
  6. Abstract We propose a novel structure-based two-dimensional (2D) mathematical model of hypertension-induced arterial remodeling. The model is built in the framework of the constrained mixture theory and global growth approach, utilizing a recently proposed structure-based constitutive model of arterial tissue that accounts for the individual natural configurations of and stress interaction between elastin and collagen. The basic novel predictive result is that provided remodeling causes a change in the elastin/collagen mass fraction ratio, it leads to a structural reorganization of collagen that manifests as an altered fiber undulation and a change in direction of the helically oriented fibers in the tissue natural state. Results obtained from the illustrative simulations for a porcine renal artery show that when remodeling is complete the collagen reorganization might have significant effects on the initial arterial geometry and mechanical properties of the arterial tissue. The proposed model has potential to describe and advance mechanistic understanding of adaptive arterial remodeling, promote the continual refinement of mathematical models of arterial remodeling, and provide motivation for new avenues of experimental investigation.