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PLoS Comput Biol. 2020 Feb 14;16(2):e1007322. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1007322. eCollection 2020 Feb.

From whole-organ imaging to in-silico blood flow modeling: A new multi-scale network analysis for revisiting tissue functional anatomy.

Author information

Institute of Fluid Mechanics of Toulouse (IMFT), Toulouse University, CNRS, INPT, UPS, Toulouse, France.
CNRS 5273; UMR STROMALab, BP 84225, F-31 432 Toulouse Cedex 4, France.
ITAV, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, UPS, France.
Advanced Digital Microscopy Core Facility, Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology. C. Baldiri Reixac, 10. E-08028 Barcelona, Spain.


We present a multi-disciplinary image-based blood flow perfusion modeling of a whole organ vascular network for analyzing both its structural and functional properties. We show how the use of Light-Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy (LSFM) permits whole-organ micro-vascular imaging, analysis and modelling. By using adapted image post-treatment workflow, we could segment, vectorize and reconstruct the entire micro-vascular network composed of 1.7 million vessels, from the tissue-scale, inside a ∼ 25 × 5 × 1 = 125mm3 volume of the mouse fat pad, hundreds of times larger than previous studies, down to the cellular scale at micron resolution, with the entire blood perfusion modeled. Adapted network analysis revealed the structural and functional organization of meso-scale tissue as strongly connected communities of vessels. These communities share a distinct heterogeneous core region and a more homogeneous peripheral region, consistently with known biological functions of fat tissue. Graph clustering analysis also revealed two distinct robust meso-scale typical sizes (from 10 to several hundred times the cellular size), revealing, for the first time, strongly connected functional vascular communities. These community networks support heterogeneous micro-environments. This work provides the proof of concept that in-silico all-tissue perfusion modeling can reveal new structural and functional exchanges between micro-regions in tissues, found from community clusters in the vascular graph.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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