Acute Response of Human Aortic Endothelial Cells to Loss of Pulsatility as Seen during Cardiopulmonary Bypass.

Academic Article


  • Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) results in short-term (3-5 h) exposure to flow with diminished pulsatility often referred to as "continuous flow". It is unclear if short-term exposure to continuous flow influences endothelial function, particularly, changes in levels of pro-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic cytokines. In this study, we used the endothelial cell culture model (ECCM) to evaluate if short-term (≤5 h) reduction in pulsatility alters levels of pro-inflammatory/pro-angiogenic cytokine levels. Human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) cultured within the ECCM provide a simple model to evaluate endothelial cell function in the absence of confounding factors. HAECs were maintained under normal pulsatile flow for 24 h and then subjected to continuous flow (diminished pulsatile pressure and flow) as observed during CPB for 5 h. The ECCM replicated pulsatility and flow morphologies associated with normal hemodynamic status and CPB as seen with clinically used roller pumps. Levels of angiopoietin-2 (ANG-2), vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), and hepatocyte growth factor were lower in the continuous flow group in comparison to the pulsatile flow group whereas the levels of endothelin-1 (ET-1), granulocyte colony stimulating factor, interleukin-8 (IL-8) and placental growth factor were higher in the continuous flow group in comparison to the pulsatile flow group. Immunolabelling of HAECs subjected to continuous flow showed a decrease in expression of ANG-2 and VEGF-A surface receptors, tyrosine protein kinase-2 and Fms-related receptor tyrosine kinase-1, respectively. Given that the 5 h exposure to continuous flow is insufficient for transcriptional regulation, it is likely that pro-inflammatory/pro-angiogenic signaling observed was due to signaling molecules stored in Weible-Palade bodies (ET-1, IL-8, ANG-2) and via HAEC binding/uptake of soluble factors in media. These results suggest that even short-term exposure to continuous flow can potentially activate pro-inflammatory/pro-angiogenic signaling in cultured HAECs and pulsatile flow may be a successful strategy in reducing the undesirable sequalae following continuous flow CPB.
  • Keywords

  • Continuous flow, Diminished pulsatility, Endothelial dysfunction
  • Author List

  • Nguyen KT; Donoghue L; Giridharan GA; Naber JP; Vincent D; Fukamachi K; Kotru A; Sethu P
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