Resilience of three-dimensional sinusoidal networks in liver tissue.
ABSTRACT: Can three-dimensional, microvasculature networks still ensure blood supply if individual links fail? We address this question in the sinusoidal network, a plexus-like microvasculature network, which transports nutrient-rich blood to every hepatocyte in liver tissue, by building on recent advances in high-resolution imaging and digital reconstruction of adult mice liver tissue. We find that the topology of the three-dimensional sinusoidal network reflects its two design requirements of a space-filling network that connects all hepatocytes, while using shortest transport routes: sinusoidal networks are sub-graphs of the Delaunay graph of their set of branching points, and also contain the corresponding minimum spanning tree, both to good approximation. To overcome the spatial limitations of experimental samples and generate arbitrarily-sized networks, we developed a network generation algorithm that reproduces the statistical features of 0.3-mm-sized samples of sinusoidal networks, using multi-objective optimization for node degree and edge length distribution. Nematic order in these simulated networks implies anisotropic transport properties, characterized by an empirical linear relation between a nematic order parameter and the anisotropy of the permeability tensor. Under the assumption that all sinusoid tubes have a constant and equal flow resistance, we predict that the distribution of currents in the network is very inhomogeneous, with a small number of edges carrying a substantial part of the flow-a feature known for hierarchical networks, but unexpected for plexus-like networks. We quantify network resilience in terms of a permeability-at-risk, i.e., permeability as function of the fraction of removed edges. We find that sinusoidal networks are resilient to random removal of edges, but vulnerable to the removal of high-current edges. Our findings suggest the existence of a mechanism counteracting flow inhomogeneity to balance metabolic load on the liver.
Project description:Transmural variations in the relationship between structural and fluid transport properties of myocardial capillary networks are determined via continuum modeling approaches using recent three-dimensional (3D) data on the microvascular structure. Specifically, the permeability tensor, which quantifies the inverse of the blood flow resistivity of the capillary network, is computed by volume-averaging flow solutions in synthetic networks with geometrical and topological properties derived from an anatomically-detailed microvascular data set extracted from the rat myocardium. Results show that the permeability is approximately ten times higher in the principal direction of capillary alignment (the "longitudinal" direction) than perpendicular to this direction, reflecting the strong anisotropy of the microvascular network. Additionally, a 30% increase in capillary diameter from subepicardium to subendocardium is shown to translate to a 130% transmural rise in permeability in the longitudinal capillary direction. This result supports the hypothesis that perfusion is preferentially facilitated during diastole in the subendocardial microvasculature to compensate for the severely-reduced systolic perfusion in the subendocardium.
Project description:Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) represent the permeable interface that segregates the blood compartment from the hepatic cells, regulating hepatic vascular tone and portal pressure amidst changes in the blood flow. In the presence of pathological conditions, phenotypic changes in LSECs contribute to the progression of chronic liver diseases, including the loss of endothelial permeability. Therefore, modulating LSECs offers a possible way to restore sinusoidal permeability and thereby improve hepatic recovery. Herein, we showed that titanium dioxide nanoparticles (TiO? NPs) could induce transient leakiness in primary human hepatic sinusoidal endothelial cells (HHSECs). Interestingly, HHSECs exposed to these NPs exhibited reduced protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation, an important protein kinase which regulates cell attachment. Using a 3D co-culture system, we demonstrated that TiO? NPs diminished the attachment of HHSECs onto normal human hepatic cell LO2. To further illustrate the significance of leakiness in liver sinusoids, we showed that NP-induced leakiness promoted Sunitinib transport across the HHSEC layer, resulting in increased drug uptake and efficacy. Hence, TiO? NPs have the potential to modulate endothelial permeability within the specialized sinusoidal endothelium, especially during events of fibrosis and occlusion. This study highlighted the possible use of inorganic NPs as a novel strategy to promote drug delivery targeting the diseased liver.
Project description:Alterations in the mechanical properties of erythrocytes occurring in inflammatory and hematologic disorders such as sickle cell disease (SCD) and malaria often lead to increased endothelial permeability, haemolysis, and microvascular obstruction. However, the associations among these pathological phenomena remain unknown. Here, we report a perfusable, endothelialized microvasculature-on-a-chip featuring an interpenetrating-polymer-network hydrogel that recapitulates the stiffness of blood-vessel intima, basement membrane self-deposition and self-healing endothelial barrier function for longer than 1 month. The microsystem enables the real-time visualization, with high spatiotemporal resolution, of microvascular obstruction and endothelial permeability under physiological flow conditions. We found how extracellular heme, a hemolytic byproduct, induces delayed but reversible endothelial permeability in a dose-dependent manner, and demonstrate that endothelial interactions with SCD or malaria-infected erythrocytes cause reversible microchannel occlusion and increased in situ endothelial permeability. The microvasculature-on-a-chip enables mechanistic insight into the endothelial barrier dysfunction associated with SCD, malaria and other inflammatory and haematological diseases.
Project description:In this work we investigate the interplay between flow and boundary condition effects on the orientation field of a thermotropic nematic liquid crystal under flow and confinement in a microfluidic device. Two types of experiments were performed using synchrotron small-angle X-ray-scattering (SAXS). In the first, a nematic liquid crystal flows through a square-channel cross section at varying flow rates, while the nematic director orientation projected onto the velocity/velocity gradient plane is measured using a 2D detector. At moderate-to-high flow rates, the nematic director is predominantly aligned in the flow direction, but with a small tilt angle of ?±11° in the velocity gradient direction. The director tilt angle is constant throughout most of the channel width but switches sign when crossing the center of the channel, in agreement with the Ericksen-Leslie-Parodi (ELP) theory. At low flow rates, boundary conditions begin to dominate, and a flow profile resembling the escaped radial director configuration is observed, where the director is seen to vary more smoothly from the edges (with homeotropic alignment) to the center of the channel. In the second experiment, hydrodynamic focusing is employed to confine the nematic phase into a sheet of liquid sandwiched between two layers of Triton X-100 aqueous solutions. The average nematic director orientation shifts to some extent from the flow direction toward the liquid boundaries, although it remains unclear if one tilt angle is dominant through most of the nematic sheet (with abrupt jumps near the boundaries) or if the tilt angle varies smoothly between two extreme values (?90 and 0°). The technique presented here could be applied to perform high-throughput measurements for assessing the influence of different surfactants on the orientation of nematic phases and may lead to further improvements in areas such as boundary lubrication and clarifying the nature of defect structures in LC displays.
Project description:The function and regulation of amyloid-beta (A?) in healthy and diseased liver remains unexplored. Because A? reduces the integrity of the blood-brain barrier we have examined its potential role in regulating the sinusoidal permeability of normal and cirrhotic liver. A? and key proteins that generate (beta-secretase 1 and presenilin-1) and degrade it (neprilysin and myelin basic protein) were decreased in human cirrhotic liver. In culture, activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC) internalized A? more efficiently than astrocytes and HSC degraded A? leading to suppressed expression of ?-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA), collagen 1 and transforming growth factor ? (TGF?). A? also upregulated sinusoidal permeability marker endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and decreased TGF? in cultured human liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (hLSEC). Liver A? levels also correlate with the expression of eNOS in transgenic Alzheimer's disease mice and in human and rodent cirrhosis/fibrosis. These findings suggest a previously unexplored role of A? in the maintenance of liver sinusoidal permeability and in protection against cirrhosis/fibrosis via attenuation of HSC activation.
Project description:We consider two elementary (max-flow and uniform-flow) and two realistic (max-min fairness and proportional fairness) congestion control schemes, and analyse how the algorithms and network structure affect throughput, the fairness of flow allocation, and the location of bottleneck edges. The more realistic proportional fairness and max-min fairness algorithms have similar throughput, but path flow allocations are more unequal in scale-free than in random regular networks. Scale-free networks have lower throughput than their random regular counterparts in the uniform-flow algorithm, which is favoured in the complex networks literature. We show, however, that this relation is reversed on all other congestion control algorithms for a region of the parameter space given by the degree exponent ? and average degree ?k?. Moreover, the uniform-flow algorithm severely underestimates the network throughput of congested networks, and a rich phenomenology of path flow allocations is only present in the more realistic ?-fair family of algorithms. Finally, we show that the number of paths passing through an edge characterises the location of a wide range of bottleneck edges in these algorithms. Such identification of bottlenecks could provide a bridge between the two fields of complex networks and congestion control.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>An ecological flow network is a weighted directed graph in which the nodes are species, the edges are "who eats whom" relationships and the weights are rates of energy or nutrient transferred between species. Allometric scaling is a ubiquitous feature for flow systems such as river basins, vascular networks and food webs.<h4>Methodology</h4>The "ecological network analysis" can serve to reveal hidden allometries, the power law relationship between the throughflux and the indirect impact of node [Formula: see text], directly from the original flow networks without any need to cut edges in the network. The dissipation law, which is another significant scaling relationship between the energy dissipation (respiration) and the throughflow of any species, is also obtained from an analysis of the empirical flow networks. Interestingly, the exponents of the allometric law ([Formula: see text]) and the dissipation law ([Formula: see text]) show a strong relationship for both empirical and simulated flow networks. The dissipation law exponent [Formula: see text], rather than the topology of the network, is the most important factors that affect the allometric exponent [Formula: see text].<h4>Conclusions</h4>The exponent [Formula: see text] can be interpreted as the degree of centralization of the network, i.e., the concentration of impacts (direct and indirect influences on the entire network along all energy flow pathways) on hubs (the nodes with large throughflows). As a result, we find that as [Formula: see text] increases, the relative energy loss of large nodes increases, [Formula: see text] decreases, i.e., the relative importance of large species decreases. Moreover, the entire flow network is more decentralized. Therefore, network flow structure (allometry) and thermodynamic constraints (dissipation) are linked.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced angiogenesis is implicated in fibrogenesis and portal hypertension. However, the function of VEGF in fibrosis resolution has not been explored. METHODS:We developed a cholecystojejunostomy procedure to reconstruct biliary flow after bile duct ligation in C57BL/6 mice to generate a model of fibrosis resolution. These mice were then given injections of VEGF-neutralizing (mcr84) or control antibodies, and other mice received an adenovirus that expressed mouse VEGF or a control vector. The procedure was also performed on macrophage fas-induced apoptosis mice, in which macrophages can be selectively depleted. Liver and blood samples were collected and analyzed in immunohistochemical, morphometric, vascular permeability, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and flow cytometry assays. RESULTS:VEGF-neutralizing antibodies prevented development of fibrosis but also disrupted hepatic tissue repair and fibrosis resolution. During fibrosis resolution, VEGF inhibition impaired liver sinusoidal permeability, which was associated with reduced monocyte migration, adhesion, and infiltration of fibrotic liver. Scar-associated macrophages contributed to this process by producing the chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 9 (CXCL9) and matrix metalloproteinase 13. Resolution of fibrosis was impaired in macrophage fas-induced apoptosis mice but increased after overexpression of CXCL9. CONCLUSIONS:In a mouse model of liver fibrosis resolution, VEGF promoted fibrogenesis, but was also required for hepatic tissue repair and fibrosis resolution. We observed that VEGF regulates vascular permeability, monocyte infiltration, and scar-associated macrophages function.
Project description:The microvasculature is principally composed of two cell types: endothelium and mural support cells. Multiple sources are available for human endothelial cells (ECs) but sources for human microvascular mural cells (MCs) are limited. We derived multipotent mesenchymal progenitor cells from human embryonic stem cells (hES-MC) that can function as an MC and stabilize human EC networks in three-dimensional (3D) collagen-fibronectin culture by paracrine mechanisms. Here, we have investigated the basis for hES-MC-mediated stabilization and identified the pleiotropic growth factor hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) as a putative hES-MC-derived regulator of EC network stabilization in 3D in vitro culture. Pharmacological inhibition of the HGF receptor (Met) (1??m SU11274) inhibits EC network formation in the presence of hES-MC. hES-MC produce and release HGF while human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) do not. When HUVEC are cultured alone the networks collapse, but in the presence of recombinant human HGF or conditioned media from human HGF-transduced cells significantly more networks persist. In addition, HUVEC transduced to constitutively express human HGF also form stable networks by autocrine mechanisms. By enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the coculture media were enriched in both angiopoietin-1 (Ang1) and angiopoietin-2 (Ang2), but at significantly different levels (Ang1=159±15?pg/mL vs. Ang2=30,867±2685?pg/mL) contributed by hES-MC and HUVEC, respectively. Although the coculture cells formed stabile network architectures, their morphology suggests the assembly of an immature plexus. When HUVEC and hES-MC were implanted subcutaneously in immune compromised Rag1 mice, hES-MC increased their contact with HUVEC along the axis of the vessel. This data suggests that HUVEC and hES-MC form an immature plexus mediated in part by HGF and angiopoietins that is capable of maturation under the correct environmental conditions (e.g., in vivo). Therefore, hES-MC can function as microvascular MCs and may be a useful cell source for testing EC-MC interactions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The goal of the present study was to analyze the macular microvacular network in mild cognitive impirment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD). METHODS:Twelve patients with AD and 19 patients with MCI were recruited together with 21 cognitively normal controls with a similar range of ages. Optical coherence tomography angiography was used to image the retinal microvascular network at the macular region, including retinal vascular network (RVN), superficial vascular plexus (SVP), and deep vascular plexus (DVP). Fractal analysis (box counting, Dbox) representing the microvascular density was performed in different annular zones and quadrantal sectors. The macular ganglion cell-inner plexiform layer (GC-IPL) thickness was measured using Zeiss OCT. The relationship between the retinal microvasculature and clinical manifestations was analyzed. RESULTS:Patients with AD had lower densities of RVN, SVP, and DVP in the annulus, from 0.6 to 2.5 mm in diameter (P < 0.05) in comparison with controls. Patients with MCI had lower density of DVP in the superior nasal quadrant (P < 0.05) than that of the controls. There were no significant differences of GC-IPL thickness among groups (P > 0.05). There was a trend of vascular density loss from control to MCI then AD (P < 0.05). Retinal microvascular density of DVP was correlated with GC-IPL thickness (P < 0.05) in patients with AD, but not in patients with MCI and controls. CONCLUSIONS:Patients with AD had less density of retinal microvascular networks than controls. Our findings suggest the presence of retinal microvascular dysfunction in AD.