Barrett, Matthew J. P.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Capillaries are the prime location for oxygen and nutrient exchange in all tissues. Despite their fundamental role, our knowledge of perfusion and flow regulation in cortical capillary beds is still limited. Here, we use in vivo measurements and blood flow simulations in anatomically accurate microvascular network to investigate the impact of red blood cells (RBCs) on microvascular flow. Based on these in vivo and in silico experiments, we show that the impact of RBCs leads to a bias toward equating the values of the outflow velocities at divergent capillary bifurcations, for which we coin the term “well-balanced bifurcations”. Our simulation results further reveal that hematocrit heterogeneity is directly caused by the RBC dynamics, i.e. by their unequal partitioning at bifurcations and their effect on vessel resistance. These results provide the first in vivo evidence of the impact of RBC dynamics on the flow field in the cortical microvasculature. By structural and functional analyses of our blood flow simulations we show that capillary diameter changes locally alter flow and RBC distribution. A dilation of 10% along a vessel length of 100 μm increases the flow on average by 21% in the dilated vessel downstream a well-balanced bifurcation. The number of RBCs rises on average by 27%. Importantly, RBC up-regulation proves to be more effective the more balanced the outflow velocities at the upstream bifurcation are. Taken together, we conclude that diameter changes at capillary level bear potential to locally change the flow field and the RBC distribution. Moreover, our results suggest that the balancing of outflow velocities contributes to the robustness of perfusion. Based on our in silico results, we anticipate that the bi-phasic nature of blood and small-scale regulations are essential for a well-adjusted oxygen and energy substrate supply. Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS Computational Biology
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03644 - Jenny, Patrick / Jenny, Patrick
785907 - Human Brain Project Specific Grant Agreement 2 (EC)
140660 - Oxygen Transport in the Cerebral Microcirculation (SNF)
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