Gerald G. Fuller

Department of Chemical Engineering, Stanford University, USA

Rheotaxis: How vascular endothelial cells sense wall shear stress



Vascular endothelial cells are nature's "rheologists" and line the interior walls of our blood vessels and are sensitive to surface shear stresses. These stresses are known to affect the shape and orientation of endothelial cells. It is evident that the spatial homogeneity of flow can affect vascular health and it is well-documented that lesions form in regions of high curvature, bifurcations, and asperities in blood vessels. Experiments are described where stagnation point flows are used to create regions of well controlled flow stagnation and spatial variation of wall shear stresses. Live-cell imaging is used to monitor the fate of cells attached to surfaces experiencing flow impingement and it is revealed that endothelial cells migrate and orient in such flows to create remarkable patterns of orientation and cell densification. This response, termed "rheotaxis", is used to explore mechano-transduction pathways within these cells. 

Date: 25/6/2015
Time:15:00 (coffee & cookies will be served at 14:45)
Place:FORTH Seminar Room 2