Since fluid dynamics plays a critical role in vascular remodeling, quantification of the hemodynamics is crucial to gain more insight into this complex process. Better understanding of vascular development can improve prediction of the process, and may eventually even be used to influence the vascular structure. In this study, a methodology to quantify hemodynamics and network structure of developing vascular networks is described. The hemodynamic parameters and topology are derived from detailed local blood flow velocities, obtained by in vivo micro-PIV measurements. The use of such detailed flow measurements is shown to be essential, as blood vessels with a similar diameter can have a large variation in flow rate. Measurements are performed in the yolk sacs of seven chicken embryos at two developmental stages between HH 13+ and 17+. A large range of flow velocities (1 µm/s to 1 mm/s) is measured in blood vessels with diameters in the range of 25-500 µm. The quality of the data sets is investigated by verifying the flow balances in the branching points. This shows that the quality of the data sets of the seven embryos is comparable for all stages observed, and the data is suitable for further analysis with known accuracy. When comparing two subsequently characterized networks of the same embryo, vascular remodeling is observed in all seven networks. However, the character of remodeling in the seven embryos differs and can be non-intuitive, which confirms the necessity of quantification. To illustrate the potential of the data, we present a preliminary quantitative study of key network topology parameters and we compare these with theoretical design rules.
Imaging-based blood flow measurement techniques, such as particle image velocimetry, have become an important tool in cardiovascular research. They provide quantitative information about blood flow, which benefits applications ranging from developmental biology to tumor perfusion studies. Studies using these methods can be classified based on whether they use artificial tracers or red blood cells to visualize the fluid motion. We here present the first direct comparison in vivo of both methods. For high magnification cases, the experiments using red blood cells strongly underestimate the flow (up to 50% in the present case), as compared to the tracer results. For medium magnification cases, the results from both methods are indistinguishable as they give the same underestimation of the real velocities (approximately 33%, based on in vitro reference measurements). These results suggest that flow characteristics reported in literature cannot be compared without a careful evaluation of the imaging characteristics. A method to predict the expected flow averaging behavior for a particular facility is presented.
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