Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Rehabilitation and Movement Science

First Advisor

R. Lee Franco

Second Advisor

Edmund O. Acevedo

Third Advisor

Ronald Evans

Fourth Advisor

John J. Ryan

Fifth Advisor

Daniel E. Conway

Sixth Advisor

Edward Boone


The pathophysiology of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) is highlighted by vascular dysfunction and low-grade vascular inflammation. Furthermore, the site-specific distribution of atherosclerosis throughout the arterial vasculature is primarily determined by local hemodynamic force. Therefore, this dissertation outlines three experiments designed to investigate the role of acute mental and physical (i.e., aerobic exercise), and vascular wall shear stress (SS) on the inflammatory aspects of atherosclerosis. Chapter 2 examines the effect of acute laboratory-induced mental stress on intracellular pro-inflammatory signaling pathways in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Chapter 3 investigates the impact of acute laboratory-induced mental stress and maximal aerobic exercise on the concentration of soluble VCAM-1 (sVCAM-1) and CX3CL1/fractalkine (sCX3CL1) in human serum. Lastly, Chapter 4 examines the role of short- (30 min) and long-term (24 hr) low-to-negative oscillating SS (LOSS) and high laminar SS (HLSS) on the expression and secretion (i.e., cleavage) of cell-membrane VCAM-1 and CX3CL1 by human umbilical vein endothelial cell cultures in vitro. Together, these experiments provide evidence that acute psychological stress, maximal aerobic exercise, and HLSS influence vascular inflammation and adhesive properties of the vessel wall. More specifically, the results from Chapter 2 provide evidence that acute mental stress promotes the immune-cell mediated synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines in circulation. In addition, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 demonstrate that the elevations in blood flow and hemodynamic force associated with maximal aerobic exercise, and unidirectional high SS may have the capacity to alter the expression of endothelial-bound cellular adhesion molecules, in part by eliciting their release from the vessel wall.


© Edward Blake Crabb

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Thursday, May 09, 2024


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