The vascular endothelium plays a pivotal role in regulating vascular homeostasis. Blood
flow exerts several mechanical forces on the luminal surface of the Endothelial Cell (EC) including
pressure, circumferential stretch, and shear stress. It is widely believed that shear stress plays a central
role in regulating EC inflammatory responses and the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. High shear
stress can induce an antiinflammatory status in EC, which is partially mediated by the production of
proteins and transcription factors able to suppress different proinflammatory signalling pathways. In
this review, we summarise the available evidence regarding the effect of shear stress on vascular EC
and smooth muscle cells, the regulation of MAPK and NF-κB including the production of different
negative regulators of inflammation such as MKP-1 and NRF2, and the production of microRNAs. We also discuss the
possible links between shear stress and the development of atherosclerosis.
Keywords: Shear stress, endothelium, vascular inflammation, atherosclerosis, macrophages, signalling pathway, microRNAs.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport