Hydrodynamic Characterization of an Arterial Flow Bioreactor
Voigt, Elizabeth Elena
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An in vitro arterial flow bioreactor system for the generation of physiological flows in a biological environment was designed, constructed, and characterized. The design was based on models previously used to investigate the response of endothelial cells to shear. The model interfaces a bioreactor with flow elements to compose a flow loop that reproduces arterial flow conditions within the bioreactor. High-resolution (8.6 microns) time-resolved (4 ms) velocity field measurements within the bioreactor were obtained using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). Two physiological flows were considered, corresponding to medium human arteries at rest and exercise conditions: first, with an average Reynolds number of 150 and a Womersley parameter of 6.4, and second, with an average Reynolds number of 300 and a Womersley parameter of 9.0. Two cases were considered: first, using a smooth artery section, and second, with a confluent layer of human microvascular endothelial cells grown on the inner surface of the artery section. The instantaneous wall shear stress, time-averaged wall shear stress, and oscillatory shear index were computed from the velocity field measurements and compared for the cases with and without cells. These measurements were used to assess the value of the system for measurement of correlations between fluid dynamics and the response of biological tissue. It was determined that the flow present in such a system is not an accurate reproduction of physiological flow, and that direct measurement of the flow is necessary for accurate quantification of cellular response to fluid parameters.
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