A fully coupled computational fluid dynamics – agent-based model of atherosclerotic plaque development: Multiscale modeling framework and parameter sensitivity analysis

Anna Corti, Claudio Chiastra, Monika Colombo, Marc Garbey, Francesco Migliavacca, Stefano Casarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) is an atherosclerotic disorder that leads to impaired lumen patency through intimal hyperplasia and the build-up of plaques, mainly localized in areas of disturbed flow. Computational models can provide valuable insights in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and act as a predictive tool to optimize current interventional techniques. Our hypothesis is that a reliable predictive model must include the atherosclerosis development history. Accordingly, we developed a multiscale modeling framework of atherosclerosis that replicates the hemodynamic-driven arterial wall remodeling and plaque formation. Methods: The framework was based on the coupling of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations with an Agent-Based Model (ABM). The CFD simulation computed the hemodynamics in a 3D artery model, while 2D ABMs simulated cell, Extracellular Matrix (ECM) and lipid dynamics in multiple vessel cross-sections. A sensitivity analysis was also performed to evaluate the oscillation of the ABM output to variations in the inputs and to identify the most influencing ABM parameters. Results: Our multiscale model qualitatively replicated both the physiologic and pathologic arterial configuration, capturing histological-like features. The ABM outputs were mostly driven by cell and ECM dynamics, largely affecting the lumen area. A subset of parameters was found to affect the final lipid core size, without influencing cell/ECM or lumen area trends. Conclusion: The fully coupled CFD-ABM framework described atherosclerotic morphological and compositional changes triggered by a disturbed hemodynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103623
JournalComputers in Biology and Medicine
Volume118
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Keywords

  • Agent-based model
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Computer modeling
  • ECM
  • Hemodynamics
  • Lipid plaque
  • Multiscale model
  • Remodeling
  • SMC
  • Wall shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics

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