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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 65136, 8 pages
Research Article

Effect of Fluid Shear Stress on Endocytosis of Heparan Sulfate and Low-density Lipoproteins

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta 30332, GA, USA
2Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala 75123, Sweden
3Biotechnology and Genetics program, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg 24061, VA, USA

Received 30 April 2007; Revised 9 October 2007; Accepted 11 December 2007

Academic Editor: Ali A. Khraibi

Copyright © 2007 Irmeli Barkefors et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Hemodynamic stress is a critical factor in the onset of atherosclerosis such that reduced rates of shear stress occurring at regions of high curvature are more prone to disease. The level of shear stress has direct influence on the thickness and integrity of the glycocalyx layer. Here we show that heparan sulfate, the main component of the glycocalyx layer, forms an intact layer only on cell surfaces subjected to shear, and not under static conditions. Furthermore, receptor-mediated endocytosis of heparan sulfate and low-density liporoteins is not detectable in cells exposed to shear stress. The internalized heparan sulfate and low-density lipoproteins are colocalized as shown by confocal imaging.