OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to examine the effect of chronic heterogeneous shear stress, applied using an orbital shaker, on endothelial cell morphology and the expression of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2.METHODS AND RESULTS: Porcine aortic endothelial cells were plated on fibronectin-coated Transwell plates. Cells were cultured for up to 7 days either under static conditions or on an orbital shaker that generated a wave of medium inducing shear stress over the cells. Cells were fixed and stained for the endothelial surface marker CD31 or cyclooxygenases 1 and 2. En face confocal microscopy and scanning ion conductance microscopy were used to show that endothelial cells were randomly oriented at the center of the well, aligned with shear stress nearer the periphery, and expressed cyclooxygenase-1 under all conditions. Lipopolysaccharide induced cyclooxygenase-2 and the production of 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1α) in all cells.CONCLUSIONS: Cyclooxygenase-1 is expressed in endothelial cells cultured under chronic shear stress of high or low directionality.