Biomedical research application of a novel double-layer parallel-plate flow chamber
Lee, Won Hee
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Since integrity and functions of vascular endothelial cells are greatly affected by shear stress, a variety of in vitro systems to subject endothelial cells under precisely controlled fluid conditions has been developed. Complicated designs of the conventional flow devices, however, have impeded such implementation. In the present study, we designed and developed a novel parallel-plate flow chamber (PPFC). It consists of multiple layers of different materials to adjust the required geometries of the chamber and provide a wide span of biomedical research applications. Because the chamber stacks separate layers to constitute the flow channel, different pieces can be easily removed or replaced. Moreover, the multilayer design only requires 2D cutting, which is easier and faster to manufacture. It is also capable of accepting up to four glass slides facing each other so that the flow within the channel is exclusively formed by endothelial cells. Furthermore, it minimizes the pressure loss across the chamber while maximizing the effective area of endothelial cells up to 96 cm2. Results from mathematical analysis and dye injection experiments showed that a uniform magnitude of shear stress is applied throughout the entire surface of endothelial cells. In addition, the morphological changes and attenuated gene expression of pro-inflammatory mediators were observed in endothelial cells exposed to the physiologically relevant shear stress. These findings indicate that our newly designed PPFC can provide a better in vitro system for versatile applications of biomedical research. The reperfusion of blood flow occurred in a number of conditions such as stroke and organ transplantation immensely augments tissue injury and can cause more severe damage than prolonged ischemia. The injuries caused by cessation and reperfusion of blood flow are closely related to the inflammatory reactions involving in endothelium-leukocyte cascade responding to a shear stress exerted by the flow. Shear stress is also known to play an important role in human chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, neurological disorders, and cancer metastasis. Therefore, it is important to investigate the transmission of mechanical stimuli such as shear stress to various complex endothelial cell signaling pathways which process as a whole is often referred as mechanotransduction. Shear stress-mediated signaling pathways have been known to trigger endothelial cell responses and contribute to the pathophysiology of human vascular diseases. The present study was designed to apply the novel PPFC to biomedical research, especially ischemia/reperfusion injury. The changes in mRNA and protein expression of inflammatory mediators in endothelial cells were analyzed by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively. RBE4 and HMEC-1 cells were either maintained in continuous laminar flow condition (Normal Flow) or subjected to 1 h of flow cessation followed by reperfusion of flow (Ischemia/Reperfusion) for 24 h. Ischemia/Reperfusion significantly up-regulated expression of inflammatory mediators, such as IL-6, MCP-1, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin, in microvascular endothelial cells. Furthermore, antioxidant pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) significantly attenuated ischemia/reperfusion-induced overexpression of pro-inflammatory mediators. These data indicates that our newly designed PPFC provide a better in vitro system for versatile applications of biomedical research.
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