In a study done by Kempczinski in 1986, the flow effects on prostacyclin production by cultured human endothelial cells was examined. Endothelial cells line blood vessels and form blood tissue barriers (Kempczinski 1986). Shear stress can cause morphologic and cytoskeletal changes to cultured endothelial cells (Kempczinski 1986). These cells were chosen for this experimental model because of their reaction to shear stress and the fact that they closely mimic cells in vivo (Kempczinski 1986). Also because of the important role hemodynamic shear stresses play in the physiology and pathobiology of the vascular endothelium (Kempczinski 1986). The use of cultured human endothelial cells allowed the researcher to simulate a hemodynamic environment in the endothelium in order to observe how this particular shear stress affects this environment (Kempczinski 1986).
The cells were placed into a flow apparatus that was subject to cultured cells (Kempczinski 1986). The cells would then flow through the chamber by hydrostatic pressure created by vertical distance between two reservoirs (Kempczinski 1986). The flow of the cells then generates pulsatile flow which produces shear stress which the endothelial cells are subjected to (Kempczinski 1986).
The cultured human endothelium cells are actual cells from the body, and therefore they would resemble cells that are growing in the body in every way. In this experiment in particular, they resemble how the endothelium reacts to shear stress, and the endothelial lining of the vessel wall. They would differ from the actual human body because although these are human cells, it is not the actual epithelium, and therefore the results would not be exact. Also because the cells would not be growing like they would be if they were inside the body, they would just be living artificially.