Analysis of early embryonic great-vessel microcirculation in zebrafish using high-speed confocal μPIV

Chia Yuan Chen, Michael J. Patrick, Paola Corti, William Kowalski, Beth L. Roman, Kerem Pekkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In the developing cardiovascular system, hemodynamic vascular loading is critical for angiogenesis and cardiovascular adaptation. Normal zebrafish embryos with transgenically-labeled endothelial and red blood cells provide an excellent in vivo model for studying the fluid-flow induced vascular loading. To characterize the developmental hemodynamics of early embryonic great-vessel microcirculation in the zebrafish embryo, two complementary studies (experimental and numerical) are presented. Quantitative comparison of the wall shear stress (WSS) at the first aortic arch (AA1) of wild-type zebrafish embryos during two consecutive developmental stages is presented, using time-resolved confocal micro-particle image velocimetry (μPIV). Analysis showed that there was significant WSS difference between 32 and 48 h post-fertilization (hpf) wild-type embryos, which correlates with normal arch morphogenesis. The vascular distensibility of the arch wall at systole and the acceleration/deceleration rates of time-lapse phase-averaged streamwise blood flow curves were also analyzed. To estimate the influence of a novel intermittent red-blood cell (RBC) loading on the endothelium, a numerical two-phase, volume of fluid (VOF) flow model was further developed with realistic in vivo conditions. These studies showed that near-wall effects and cell clustering increased WSS augmentation at a minimum of 15% when the distance of RBC from arch vessel wall was less than 3 μm or when RBC cell-to-cell distance was less than 3 μm. When compared to a smooth wall, the WSS augmentation increased by a factor of ~1.4 due to the roughness of the wall created by the endothelial cell profile. These results quantitatively highlight the contribution of individual RBC flow patterns on endothelial WSS in great-vessel microcirculation and will benefit the quantitative understanding of mechanotransduction in embryonic great vessel biology, including arteriovenous malformations (AVM).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-321
Number of pages17
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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