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Dev Dyn. 2011 Jun;240(6):1335-43. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22618. Epub 2011 Mar 29.

Intravascular pillars and pruning in the extraembryonic vessels of chick embryos.

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Laboratory of Adaptive and Regenerative Biology, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


To investigate the local mechanical forces associated with intravascular pillars and vessel pruning, we studied the conducting vessels in the extraembryonic circulation of the chick embryo. During the development days 13-17, intravascular pillars and blood flow parameters were identified using fluorescent vascular tracers and digital time-series video reconstructions. The geometry of selected vessels was confirmed by corrosion casting and scanning electron microscopy. Computational simulations of pruning vessels suggested that serial pillars form along pre-existing velocity streamlines; blood pressure demonstrated no obvious spatial relationship with the intravascular pillars. Modeling a Reynolds number of 0.03 produced 4 pillars at approximately 20-μm intervals matching the observed periodicity. In contrast, a Reynolds number of 0.06 produced only 2 pillars at approximately 63-μm intervals. Our modeling data indicated that the combination of wall shear stress and gradient of shear predicted the location, direction, and periodicity of developing pillars.

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