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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2005 Jul;43(4):431-5.

Visualisation of intramural coronary vasculature by an imaging cryomicrotome suggests compartmentalisation of myocardial perfusion areas.

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Department of Medical Physics, Cardiovascular Research Institute Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


A technique is presented for the 3D visualisation of the coronary arterial tree using an imaging cryomicrotome. After the coronary circulation of the excised heart was filled with a fluorescent plastic, the heart was frozen and mounted in the cryomicrotome. The heart was then sliced serially, with a slice thickness of 40 microm, and digital images were taken from each cutting plane of the remaining bulk material using appropriate excitation and emission filters. Using maximum intensity projections over a series of images in the cutting plane and perpendicular plane, the structural organisation of intramural vessels was visualised in the present study. The branching end in the smallest visible vessels, which define tissue areas that are well delineated from each other by 1-2 mm wide bands populated only by vessels less than 40 microm in diameter. The technique presented here allows further quantification in the future of the 3D structure of the coronary arterial tree by image analysis techniques.

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