Shear stress enhances human endothelial cell wound closure in vitro

Maria Luiza C. Albuquerque*, Christopher M. Waters, Ushma Savla, H. William Schnaper, Annette S. Flozak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

137 Scopus citations


Repair of the endothelium occurs in the presence of continued blood flow, yet the mechanisms by which shear forces affect endothelial wound closure remain elusive. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that shear stress enhances endothelial cell wound closure. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) or human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC) were cultured on type I collagen-coated coverslips. Cell monolayers were sheared for 18 h in a parallel-plate flow chamber at 12 dyn/cm2 to attain cellular alignment and then wounded by scraping with a metal spatula. Subsequently, the monolayers were exposed to a laminar shear stress of 3, 12, or 20 dyn/cm2 under shear-wound-shear (S-W, sH) or shear-wound-static (S-W-sT) conditions for 6 h. Wound closure was measured as a percentage of original wound width. Cell area, centroid-to-centroid distance, and cell velocity were also measured. HUVEC wounds in the S-W-sH group exposed to 3, 12, or 20 dyn/cm2 closed to 21, 39, or 50%, respectively, compared with only 59% in the S-W-sT cells. Similarly, HCAEC wounds Closed to 29, 49, or 33% (S-W-sH) compared with 58% in the S-W-sT cells. Cell spreading and migration, but not proliferation, were the major mechanisms accounting for the increases in wound closure rate. These results suggest that physiological levels of shear stress enhance endothelial repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H293-H302
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1 48-1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanics
  • Cell migration
  • Cell spreading
  • Intimal healing
  • Vasculature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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