Experimental and Theoretical Model of Microvascular Network Remodeling and Blood Flow Redistribution Following Minimally Invasive Microvessel Laser Ablation

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Overly dense microvascular networks are treated by selective reduction of vascular elements. Inappropriate manipulation of microvessels could result in loss of host tissue function or a worsening of the clinical problem. Here, experimental, and computational models were developed to induce blood flow changes via selective artery and vein laser ablation and study the compensatory collateral flow redistribution and vessel diameter remodeling. The microvasculature was imaged non-invasively by bright-field and multi-photon laser microscopy, and optical coherence tomography pre-ablation and up to 30 days post-ablation. A theoretical model of network remodeling was developed to compute blood flow and intravascular pressure and identify vessels most susceptible to changes in flow direction. The skin microvascular remodeling patterns were consistent among the five specimens studied. Significant remodeling occurred at various time points, beginning as early as days 1–3 and continuing beyond day 20. The remodeling patterns included collateral development, venous and arterial reopening, and both outward and inward remodeling, with variations in the time frames for each mouse. In a representative specimen, immediately post-ablation, the average artery and vein diameters increased by 14% and 23%, respectively. At day 20 post-ablation, the maximum increases in arterial and venous diameters were 2.5× and 3.3×, respectively. By day 30, the average artery diameter remained 11% increased whereas the vein diameters returned to near pre-ablation values. Some arteries regenerated across the ablation sites via endothelial cell migration, while veins either reconnected or rerouted flow around the ablation site, likely depending on local pressure driving forces. In the intact network, the theoretical model predicts that the vessels that act as collaterals after flow disruption are those most sensitive to distant changes in pressure. The model results correlate with the post-ablation microvascular remodeling patterns.


Scientific Reports




Biomedical Engineering