Culture of arteries has become increasingly important in studying atherosclerosis and the effect of clinical interventions [1]. Ideally, arterial culturing should imitate in vivo conditions within an ex vivo environment. Physiological wall shear stresses are important as they induce an atheroprotective endothelial phenotype [2], which is relevant for maintaining arterial wall integrity. The arteries in such ex vivo studies, however, are perfused with culture medium, which has a viscosity lower than blood. Previously, the culture medium has been supplemented with dextran to obtain physiological fluid viscosity and wall shear stresses. However, several researchers [3,4] reported side effects of dextran on the cells in the arterial wall independent of its effect on medium viscosity. Also, dextran increases medium osmolality to supraphysiological levels [5]. This suggests that dextran may not be the optimal substance to increase medium viscosity.

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