All Publications

  • Elevated uptake of plasma macromolecules by regions of arterial wall predisposed to plaque instability in a mouse model. PloS one Mohri, Z., Rowland, E. M., Clarke, L. A., De Luca, A., Peiffer, V., Krams, R., Sherwin, S. J., Weinberg, P. D. 2014; 9 (12): e115728


    Atherosclerosis may be triggered by an elevated net transport of lipid-carrying macromolecules from plasma into the arterial wall. We hypothesised that whether lesions are of the thin-cap fibroatheroma (TCFA) type or are less fatty and more fibrous depends on the degree of elevation of transport, with greater uptake leading to the former. We further hypothesised that the degree of elevation can depend on haemodynamic wall shear stress characteristics and nitric oxide synthesis. Placing a tapered cuff around the carotid artery of apolipoprotein E -/- mice modifies patterns of shear stress and eNOS expression, and triggers lesion development at the upstream and downstream cuff margins; upstream but not downstream lesions resemble the TCFA. We measured wall uptake of a macromolecular tracer in the carotid artery of C57bl/6 mice after cuff placement. Uptake was elevated in the regions that develop lesions in hyperlipidaemic mice and was significantly more elevated where plaques of the TCFA type develop. Computational simulations and effects of reversing the cuff orientation indicated a role for solid as well as fluid mechanical stresses. Inhibiting NO synthesis abolished the difference in uptake between the upstream and downstream sites. The data support the hypothesis that excessively elevated wall uptake of plasma macromolecules initiates the development of the TCFA, suggest that such uptake can result from solid and fluid mechanical stresses, and are consistent with a role for NO synthesis. Modification of wall transport properties might form the basis of novel methods for reducing plaque rupture.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0115728

    View details for PubMedID 25531765

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4274101

  • Computation in the rabbit aorta of a new metric - the transverse wall shear stress - to quantify the multidirectional character of disturbed blood flow. Journal of biomechanics Peiffer, V., Sherwin, S. J., Weinberg, P. D. 2013; 46 (15): 2651-8


    Spatial variation of the haemodynamic stresses acting on the arterial wall is commonly assumed to explain the focal development of atherosclerosis. Disturbed flow in particular is thought to play a key role. However, widely-used metrics developed to quantify its extent are unable to distinguish between uniaxial and multidirectional flows. We analysed pulsatile flow fields obtained in idealised and anatomically-realistic arterial geometries using computational fluid dynamics techniques, and in particular investigated the multidirectionality of the flow fields, capturing this aspect of near-wall blood flow with a new metric - the transverse wall shear stress (transWSS) - calculated as the time-average of wall shear stress components perpendicular to the mean flow direction. In the idealised branching geometry, multidirectional flow was observed downstream of the branch ostium, a region of flow stagnation, and to the sides of the ostium. The distribution of the transWSS was different from the pattern of traditional haemodynamic metrics and more dependent on the velocity waveform imposed at the branch outlet. In rabbit aortas, transWSS patterns were again different from patterns of traditional metrics. The near-branch pattern varied between intercostal ostia, as is the case for lesion distribution; for some branches there were striking resemblances to the age-dependent patterns of disease seen in rabbit and human aortas. The new metric may lead to improved understanding of atherogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.08.003

    View details for PubMedID 24044966

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3807647

  • Does low and oscillatory wall shear stress correlate spatially with early atherosclerosis? A systematic review. Cardiovascular research Peiffer, V., Sherwin, S. J., Weinberg, P. D. 2013; 99 (2): 242-50


    Low and oscillatory wall shear stress is widely assumed to play a key role in the initiation and development of atherosclerosis. Indeed, some studies have relied on the low shear theory when developing diagnostic and treatment strategies for cardiovascular disease. We wished to ascertain if this consensus is justified by published data. We performed a systematic review of papers that compare the localization of atherosclerotic lesions with the distribution of haemodynamic indicators calculated using computational fluid dynamics. The review showed that although many articles claim their results conform to the theory, it has been interpreted in different ways: a range of metrics has been used to characterize the distribution of disease, and they have been compared with a range of haemodynamic factors. Several studies, including all of those making systematic point-by-point comparisons of shear and disease, failed to find the expected relation. The various pre- and post-processing techniques used by different groups have reduced the range of shears over which correlations were sought, and in some cases are mutually incompatible. Finally, only a subset of the known patterns of disease has been investigated. The evidence for the low/oscillatory shear theory is less robust than commonly assumed. Longitudinal studies starting from the healthy state, or the collection of average flow metrics derived from large numbers of healthy vessels, both in conjunction with point-by-point comparisons using appropriate statistical techniques, will be necessary to improve our understanding of the relation between blood flow and atherogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/cvr/cvt044

    View details for PubMedID 23459102

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3695746

  • Variability of computational fluid dynamics solutions for pressure and flow in a giant aneurysm: the ASME 2012 Summer Bioengineering Conference CFD Challenge. Journal of biomechanical engineering Steinman, D. A., Hoi, Y., Fahy, P., Morris, L., Walsh, M. T., Aristokleous, N., Anayiotos, A. S., Papaharilaou, Y., Arzani, A., Shadden, S. C., Berg, P., Janiga, G., Bols, J., Segers, P., Bressloff, N. W., Cibis, M., Gijsen, F. H., Cito, S., PallarĂ©s, J., Browne, L. D., Costelloe, J. A., Lynch, A. G., Degroote, J., Vierendeels, J., Fu, W., Qiao, A., Hodis, S., Kallmes, D. F., Kalsi, H., Long, Q., Kheyfets, V. O., Finol, E. A., Kono, K., Malek, A. M., Lauric, A., Menon, P. G., Pekkan, K., Esmaily Moghadam, M., Marsden, A. L., Oshima, M., Katagiri, K., Peiffer, V., Mohamied, Y., Sherwin, S. J., Schaller, J., Goubergrits, L., Usera, G., Mendina, M., Valen-Sendstad, K., Habets, D. F., Xiang, J., Meng, H., Yu, Y., Karniadakis, G. E., Shaffer, N., Loth, F. 2013; 135 (2): 021016-?


    Stimulated by a recent controversy regarding pressure drops predicted in a giant aneurysm with a proximal stenosis, the present study sought to assess variability in the prediction of pressures and flow by a wide variety of research groups. In phase I, lumen geometry, flow rates, and fluid properties were specified, leaving each research group to choose their solver, discretization, and solution strategies. Variability was assessed by having each group interpolate their results onto a standardized mesh and centerline. For phase II, a physical model of the geometry was constructed, from which pressure and flow rates were measured. Groups repeated their simulations using a geometry reconstructed from a micro-computed tomography (CT) scan of the physical model with the measured flow rates and fluid properties. Phase I results from 25 groups demonstrated remarkable consistency in the pressure patterns, with the majority predicting peak systolic pressure drops within 8% of each other. Aneurysm sac flow patterns were more variable with only a few groups reporting peak systolic flow instabilities owing to their use of high temporal resolutions. Variability for phase II was comparable, and the median predicted pressure drops were within a few millimeters of mercury of the measured values but only after accounting for submillimeter errors in the reconstruction of the life-sized flow model from micro-CT. In summary, pressure can be predicted with consistency by CFD across a wide range of solvers and solution strategies, but this may not hold true for specific flow patterns or derived quantities. Future challenges are needed and should focus on hemodynamic quantities thought to be of clinical interest.

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4023382

    View details for PubMedID 23445061

  • A novel method for quantifying spatial correlations between patterns of atherosclerosis and hemodynamic factors. Journal of biomechanical engineering Peiffer, V., Bharath, A. A., Sherwin, S. J., Weinberg, P. D. 2013; 135 (2): 021023


    Studies investigating the relation between the focal nature of atherosclerosis and hemodynamic factors are employing increasingly rigorous approaches to map the disease and calculate hemodynamic metrics. However, no standardized methodology exists to quantitatively compare these distributions. We developed a statistical technique that can be used to determine if hemodynamic and lesion maps are significantly correlated. The technique, which is based on a surrogate data analysis, does not require any assumptions (such as linearity) on the nature of the correlation. Randomized sampling was used to ensure the independence of data points, another basic assumption of commonly-used statistical methods that is often disregarded. The novel technique was used to compare previously-obtained maps of lesion prevalence in aortas of immature and mature cholesterol-fed rabbits to corresponding maps of wall shear stress, averaged across several animals in each age group. A significant spatial correlation was found in the proximal descending thoracic aorta, but not further downstream. Around intercostal branch openings the correlation was borderline significant in immature but not in mature animals. The results confirm the need for further investigation of the relation between the localization of atherosclerosis and blood flow, in conjunction with appropriate statistical techniques such as the method proposed here.

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4023381

    View details for PubMedID 23445068

  • Effect of aortic taper on patterns of blood flow and wall shear stress in rabbits: association with age. Atherosclerosis Peiffer, V., Rowland, E. M., Cremers, S. G., Weinberg, P. D., Sherwin, S. J. 2012; 223 (1): 114-21


    The distribution of atherosclerotic lesions changes with age in human and rabbit aortas. We investigated if this can be explained by changes in patterns of blood flow and wall shear stress.The luminal geometry of thoracic aortas from immature and mature rabbits was obtained by micro-CT of vascular corrosion casts. Blood flow was computed and average maps of wall shear stress were derived.The branch anatomy of the aortic arch varied widely between animals. Wall shear was increased downstream and to a lesser extent upstream of intercostal branch ostia, and a stripe of high shear was located on the dorsal descending aortic wall. The stripe was associated with two vortices generated by aortic arch curvature; their persistence into the descending aorta depended on aortic taper and was more pronounced in mature geometries. These results were not sensitive to the modelling assumptions.Blood flow characteristics in the rabbit aorta were affected by the degree of taper, which tends to increase with age in the aortic arch and strengthens secondary flows into the descending aorta. Previously-observed lesion distributions correlated better with high than low shear, and age-related changes around branch ostia were not explained by the flow patterns.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2012.04.020

    View details for PubMedID 22658260

  • Reducing the data: Analysis of the role of vascular geometry on blood flow patterns in curved vessels PHYSICS OF FLUIDS Alastruey, J., Siggers, J. H., Peiffer, V., Doorly, D. J., Sherwin, S. J. 2012; 24 (3)

    View details for DOI 10.1063/1.3694526

    View details for Web of Science ID 000302224600003

  • A hybrid bioregulatory model of angiogenesis during bone fracture healing. Biomechanics and modeling in mechanobiology Peiffer, V., Gerisch, A., Vandepitte, D., Van Oosterwyck, H., Geris, L. 2011; 10 (3): 383-95


    Bone fracture healing is a complex process in which angiogenesis or the development of a blood vessel network plays a crucial role. In this paper, a mathematical model is presented that simulates the biological aspects of fracture healing including the formation of individual blood vessels. The model consists of partial differential equations, several of which describe the evolution in density of the most important cell types, growth factors, tissues and nutrients. The other equations determine the growth of blood vessels as a result of the movement of leading endothelial (tip) cells. Branching and anastomoses are accounted for in the model. The model is applied to a normal fracture healing case and subjected to a sensitivity analysis. The spatiotemporal evolution of soft tissues and bone, as well as the development of a blood vessel network are corroborated by comparison with experimental data. Moreover, this study shows that the proposed mathematical framework can be a useful tool in the research of impaired healing and the design of treatment strategies.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10237-010-0241-7

    View details for PubMedID 20827500