Spatial Temporal Analysis of Fieldwise Flow in Microvasculature.


Changes in blood flow velocity and distribution are vital in maintaining tissue and organ perfusion in response to varying cellular needs. Further, appearance of defects in microcirculation can be a primary indicator in the development of multiple pathologies. Advances in optical imaging have made intravital microscopy (IVM) a practical approach, permitting imaging at the cellular and subcellular level in live animals at high-speed over time. Yet, despite the importance of maintaining adequate tissue perfusion, spatial and temporal variability in capillary flow is seldom documented. In the standard approach, a small number of capillary segments are chosen for imaging over a limited time. To comprehensively quantify capillary flow in an unbiased way we developed Spatial Temporal Analysis of Fieldwise Flow (STAFF), a macro for FIJI open-source image analysis software. Using high-speed image sequences of full fields of blood flow within capillaries, STAFF produces images that represent motion over time called kymographs for every time interval for every vascular segment. From the kymographs STAFF calculates velocities from the distance that red blood cells move over time, and outputs the velocity data as a sequence of color-coded spatial maps for visualization and tabular output for quantitative analyses. In normal mouse livers, STAFF analyses quantified profound differences in flow velocity between pericentral and periportal regions within lobules. Even more unexpected are the differences in flow velocity seen between sinusoids that are side by side and fluctuations seen within individual vascular segments over seconds. STAFF is a powerful new tool capable of providing novel insights by enabling measurement of the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of capillary flow.

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