A quantitative analysis of the distribution of microvascular blood flow and oxygen delivery requires a detailed description of the vascular network geometry. The distributions of lengths and diameters were determined in terminal arteriolar networks of the cheek pouch retractor muscle of young (34 ± 2 days) hamsters. We compared the Strahler centripetal vessel ordering scheme, which assigns lowest order to the capillaries and proceeds upstream toward the larger vessels, with the centrifugal ordering scheme, which begins with the input arteriole and proceeds downstream toward the capillaries. The terminal networks of the retractor muscle typically contain 2 to 4 Strahler orders and 2 to 6 centrifugal orders. The coefficients of variation of diameter and length are smaller for Strahler ordering than for centrifugal ordering. In addition, for Strahler ordering, we found that the sequence of number of vessels obeyed Horton's law. We have compared three different methods of calculating the bifurcation, diameter, and length ratios. As an alternative method for analyzing network topology, we also studied the distribution of the number of segments on each pathway from the inlet of a network to a capillary. The information obtained from this analysis is useful for the mathematical modeling of flow in the microvascular network.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cell Biology