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Background: Cell-based perfusion studies have provided great insight into fluid-sensing mechanisms, such as primary cilia in the renal and vascular systems. However, the intrinsic limitations of in vitro cell culture, such as the inability to reflect cellular organization within tissues, has distanced observed paradigms from possible clinical developments. Here we describe a protocol that applies ex vivo artery perfusion and calcium imaging to observe real-time cellular responses to fluid-shear stress.

Results: Through our ex vivo artery perfusion method, we were able to simulate physiological flow and initiate distinct fluid shear stress mechanosensory responses, as well as induced acetylcholine responses in mouse aortic tissue. The observed calcium profiles confirm results found through previous in vitro cell culture experiments. The overall procedure, including dissection, sample preparation and perfusion, takes around 3 hours to complete.

Conclusion: Through our unique method, we are able to induce laminar flow within intact mouse aortic tissue and illicit subsequent cellular responses. This method of ex vivo artery perfusion provides the opportunity to bridge the novel findings of in vitro studies with subsequent physiological models of fluid-shear stress mechanosensation in vascular tissues.


This article was originally published in Biological Procedures Online, volume 16, issue 1, in 2014. DOI: 10.1186/1480-9222-16-6

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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