Partial carotid ligation is a model of acutely induced disturbed flow, leading to rapid endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis

Douglas Nam, Chih Wen Ni, Amir Rezvan, Jin Suo, Klaudia Budzyn, Alexander Llanos, David Harrison, Don P. Giddens, Hanjoong Jo

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305 Citations (Scopus)


Atherosclerosis is closely associated with disturbed flow characterized by low and oscillatory shear stress, but studies directly linking disturbed flow to atherogenesis is lacking. The major reason for this has been a lack of an animal model in which disturbed flow can be acutely induced and cause atherosclerosis. Here, we characterize partial carotid ligation as a model of disturbed flow with characteristics of low and oscillatory wall shear stress. We also describe a method of isolating intimal RNA in sufficient quantity from mouse carotid arteries. Using this model and method, we found that partial ligation causes upregulation of proatherogenic genes, downregulation of antiatherogenic genes, endothelial dysfunction, and rapid atherosclerosis in 2 wk in a p47phox-dependent manner and advanced lesions by 4 wk. We found that partial ligation results in endothelial dysfunction, rapid atherosclerosis, and advanced lesion development in a physiologically relevant model of disturbed flow. It also allows for easy and rapid intimal RNA isolation. This novel model and method could be used for genome-wide studies to determine molecular mechanisms underlying flow-dependent regulation of vascular biology and diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Endothelium
  • Inflammation
  • Shear stress

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