The long saphenous vein (LSV) is commonly used as a conduit in coronary artery bypass grafting. However, long term patency remains limited by the development of vascular inflammation, intimal hyperplasia and accelerated atherosclerosis. The impact of acute exposure of venous endothelial cells (ECs) to acute arterial wall shear stress (WSS) in the arterial circulation, and the subsequent activation of inflammatory pathways, remain poorly defined. Here, we tested the hypothesis that acute exposure of venous ECs to high shear stress is associated with inflammatory responses that are regulated by NF-κB both in-vitro and ex-vivo. Analysis of the LSV endothelium revealed that activation of NF-κB occurred within 30 min after exposure to arterial rates of shear stress. Activation of NF-κB was associated with increased levels of CCL2 production and enhanced binding of monocytes in LSVECs exposed to 6 h acute arterial WSS. Consistent with this, ex vivo exposure of LSVs to acute arterial WSS promoted monocyte interactions with the vessel lumen. Inhibition of the NF-κB pathway prevented acute arterial WSS-induced CCL2 production and reduced monocyte adhesion, both in vitro and in human LSV ex vivo, demonstrating that this pathway is necessary for the induction of the acute arterial WSS-induced pro-inflammatory response. We have identified NF-κB as a critical regulator of acute endothelial inflammation in saphenous vein in response to acute arterial WSS. Localised endothelial-specific inhibition of the NF-κB pathway may be beneficial to prevent vein graft inflammation and consequent failure.
- venous bypass grafts