Restoration of normal blood flow in atherosclerotic arteries promotes plaque stabilization

Morgan A. Schake, Ian S. McCue, Evan T. Curtis, Thomas J. Ripperda, Samuel Harvey, Bryan T. Hackfort, Anna Fitzwater, Yiannis S. Chatzizisis, Forrest M. Kievit, Ryan M. Pedrigi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blood flow is a key regulator of atherosclerosis. Disturbed blood flow promotes atherosclerotic plaque development, whereas normal blood flow protects against plaque development. We hypothesized that normal blood flow is also therapeutic, if it were able to be restored within atherosclerotic arteries. Apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE−/−) mice were initially instrumented with a blood flow-modifying cuff to induce plaque development and then five weeks later the cuff was removed to allow restoration of normal blood flow. Plaques in decuffed mice exhibited compositional changes that indicated increased stability compared to plaques in mice with the cuff maintained. The therapeutic benefit of decuffing was comparable to atorvastatin and the combination had an additive effect. In addition, decuffing allowed restoration of lumen area, blood velocity, and wall shear stress to near baseline values, indicating restoration of normal blood flow. Our findings demonstrate that the mechanical effects of normal blood flow on atherosclerotic plaques promote stabilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106760
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 16 2023


  • Cardiovascular medicine
  • Vascular remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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