Objective: Central venous stenosis (CVS) is a major cause of arteriovenous fistula (AVF) failure. However, central veins are relatively inaccessible to study with conventional Doppler ultrasound methods. To understand mechanisms underlying AVF failure owing to CVS, an animal model was established that creates a stenosis distal to an AVF. We hypothesized that this mouse model will show comparable morphology and physiology to human CVS. Methods: An aortocaval fistula was created between the distal aorta and inferior vena cava (IVC); a stenosis was then created distal to the fistula by partial IVC ligation. Sham-operated animals, AVF without venous stenosis, and venous stenosis without AVF were used as controls. Physiologic properties of the IVC, both upstream and downstream of the stenosis, or the corresponding sites in models without stenosis, were assessed with ultrasound examination on days 0 to 21. The spectral broadening index was measured to assess the degree of disturbed shear stress. The IVC was harvested at day 21 and specimens were analyzed with immunofluorescence. Results: The IVC diameter of mice with an AVF and stenosis showed increased upstream (P =.013), but decreased downstream diameter (P =.001) compared with mice with an AVF but without a stenosis, at all postoperative times (days 3-21). IVC wall thickness increased in mice with an AVF, compared with IVC without an AVF (upstream of stenosis: 13.9 μm vs 11.0 μm vs 4.5 μm vs 3.9 μm; P =.020; downstream of stenosis: 6.0 μm vs 6.6 μm vs μm 4.5 μm vs 3.8 μm; P =.002; AVF with stenosis, AVF, stenosis, sham, respectively). AVF patency significantly decreased in mice with an AVF and stenosis by day 21 (50% vs 90%; P =.048). The IVC of mice with AVF and stenosis showed a venous waveform with pulsatility as well as enhanced velocity at and downstream of the stenosis; similar waveforms were observed in a human case of CVS. Downstream to the stenosis, the spectral broadening index was significantly higher compared with mice with AVF alone (1.06 vs 0.78; P =.011; day 21), and there was a trend towards less immunoreactivity of both Krüppel-like factor 2 and phosphorylated-endothelial nitric oxide synthase compared with mice with an AVF alone. Conclusions: Partial IVC ligation distal to a mouse aortocaval fistula alters the fistula diameter and wall thickness, decreases patency, and increases distal disturbed flow compared with fistulae without a distal stenosis. Our mouse model of stenosis distal to an AVF may be a faithful representation of human CVS that shows similar morphology and physiology, including disturbed shear stress. Clinical Relevance: A mouse model of venous stenosis distal to an arteriovenous fistula shows similar Doppler waveforms as those observed in a human case of central venous stenosis. These mice retain disturbed shear stress in the vein distal to the fistula, characterized by a sustained increase of the spectral broadening index and diminished expression of proteins upregulated by laminar shear stress. This novel mouse model will enable investigation of the physiology and downstream molecular pathways involved in central venous stenosis in humans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine