Two mechanisms of shear stress and mass transport have been recognized to play an important role in the development of localized atherosclerosis. However, their relationship and roles in atherogenesis are still obscure. It is necessary to investigate quantitatively the correlation among low-density lipoproteins (LDL) transport, haemodynamic parameters and plaque thickness. We simulated blood flow and LDL transport in rabbit aorta using computational fluid dynamics and evaluated plaque thickness in the aorta of a high-fat-diet rabbit. The numerical results show that regions with high luminal LDL concentration tend to have severely negative haemodynamic environments (HEs). However, for regions with moderately and slightly high luminal LDL concentration, the relationship between LDL concentration and the above haemodynamic indicators is not clear cut. Point-by-point correlation with experimental results indicates that severe atherosclerotic plaque corresponds to high LDL concentration and seriously negative HEs, less severe atherosclerotic plaque is related to either moderately high LDL concentration or moderately negative HEs, and there is almost no atherosclerotic plaque in regions with both low LDL concentration and positive HEs. In conclusion, LDL distribution is closely linked to blood flow transport, and the synergetic effects of luminal surface LDL concentration and wall shear stress-based haemodynamic indicators may determine plaque thickness.
- Received February 27, 2017.
- Accepted March 20, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.