Exploring neurodegenerative disorders using a novel integrated model of cerebral transport: Initial results

John C. Vardakis, Dean Chou, Liwei Guo, Yiannis Ventikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The neurovascular unit (NVU) underlines the complex and symbiotic relationship between brain cells and the cerebral vasculature, and dictates the need to consider both neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases under the same mechanistic umbrella. Importantly, unlike peripheral organs, the brain was thought not to contain a dedicated lymphatics system. The glymphatic system concept (a portmanteau of glia and lymphatic) has further emphasized the importance of cerebrospinal fluid transport and emphasized its role as a mechanism for waste removal from the central nervous system. In this work, we outline a novel multiporoelastic solver which is embedded within a high precision, subject specific workflow that allows for the co-existence of a multitude of interconnected compartments with varying properties (multiple-network poroelastic theory, or MPET), that allow for the physiologically accurate representation of perfused brain tissue. This novel numerical template is based on a six-compartment MPET system (6-MPET) and is implemented through an in-house finite element code. The latter utilises the specificity of a high throughput imaging pipeline (which has been extended to incorporate the regional variation of mechanical properties) and blood flow variability model developed as part of the VPH-DARE@IT research platform. To exemplify the capability of this large-scale consolidated pipeline, a cognitively healthy subject is used to acquire novel, biomechanistically inspired biomarkers relating to primary and derivative variables of the 6-MPET system. These biomarkers are shown to capture the sophisticated nature of the NVU and the glymphatic system, paving the way for a potential route in deconvoluting the complexity associated with the likely interdependence of neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases. The present study is the first, to the best of our knowledge, that casts and implements the 6-MPET equations in a 3D anatomically accurate brain geometry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1223-1234
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Volume234
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering

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