Computer simulations reveal complex distribution of haemodynamic forces in a mouse retina model of angiogenesis

Miguel O Bernabeu, Martin L Jones, Jens H Nielsen, Timm Krueger, Rupert W Nash, Derek Groen, Sebastian Schmieschek, James Hetherington, Holger Gerhardt, Claudio A Franco, Peter V Coveney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

There is currently limited understanding of the role played by haemodynamic forces on the processes governing vascular development. One of many obstacles to be overcome is being able to measure those forces, at the required resolution level, on vessels only a few micrometres thick. In this paper, we present an in silico method for the computation of the haemodynamic forces experienced by murine retinal vasculature (a widely used vascular development animal model) beyond what is measurable experimentally. Our results show that it is possible to reconstruct high-resolution three-dimensional geometrical models directly from samples of retinal vasculature and that the lattice-Boltzmann algorithm can be used to obtain accurate estimates of the haemodynamics in these domains. We generate flow models from samples obtained at postnatal days (P) 5 and 6. Our simulations show important differences between the flow patterns recovered in both cases, including observations of regression occurring in areas where wall shear stress (WSS) gradients exist. We propose two possible mechanisms to account for the observed increase in velocity and WSS between P5 and P6: (i) the measured reduction in typical vessel diameter between both time points and (ii) the reduction in network density triggered by the pruning process. The methodology developed herein is applicable to other biomedical domains where microvasculature can be imaged but experimental flow measurements are unavailable or difficult to obtain.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20140543
JournalJournal of the Royal Society. Interface
Issue number99
Early online date6 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • angiogenesis
  • mouse
  • retina
  • blood flow
  • shear stress
  • lattice-Boltzmann


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