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The Mouse Capillary Coronary Network Architecture

Nabil Nicolas and Etienne Roux

MDPI Biology


The Mouse Capillary Coronary Network Architecture is of critical importance to understand the coronary functions.

Characterization of the cardiac capillary network structure is of critical importance to understand the normal coronary functional properties and coronary microvascular diseases.

The aim of our study was to establish an accessible methodology for 3D imaging and 3D processing to quantitatively characterize the Mouse Capillary Coronary Network.

Experiments were done on C57BL/6J mice. 3D imaging was performed by light sheet microscopy and confocal microscopy on iDISCO+ optical cleared hearts after labelling of the capillary endothelium by lectin injection. 3D images were processed with the open source software ImageJ.

Non-visual image segmentation was based of the frequency distribution of the voxel greyscale values, followed by skeletonization and distance mapping.

Capillary networks in left and right ventricles and septum were characterized by the volume network density, the fractal dimension, the number of segments and nodes and their ratio, the total network length, and the average length, diameter, and tortuosity of the segments.

Scale-dependent parameter values can be impacted by the resolution limit of the 3D imaging technique.

The proposed standardized methodology for 3D image processing is easily accessible for a biologist in terms of investment and difficulty level, and allows the quantification of the 3D capillary architecture and its statistical comparison in different conditions.


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