Introduction: The chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) is extensively used as an in vivo model. Here, structure and hemodynamics of CAM vessel trees were analyzed and compared with predictions of Murray's law. Methods: CAM microvascular networks of Hamburger-Hamilton stage 40 chick embryos were scanned by videomicroscopy. Three networks with ~3800, 580 and 480 segments were digitally reconstructed, neglecting the capillary mesh. Vessel diameters (D) and segment lengths were measured, and generation numbers and junctional exponents at bifurcations were derived. In selected vessels, flow velocities (v) and hematocrit were measured. Hemodynamic simulations, incorporating the branching of capillaries from preterminal vessels, were used to estimate v, volume flow (Q), shear stress (τ) and pressure for all segments of the largest network. Results: For individual arteriovenous flow pathways, terminal arterial and venous generation numbers are negatively correlated, leading to low variability of total topological and morphological pathway lengths. Arteriolar velocity is proportional to diameter (v∝D1.03 measured, v∝D0.93 modeling), giving nearly uniform τ levels (τ∝D0.05). Venular trees exhibit slightly higher exponents (v∝D1.3, τ∝D0.38). Junctional exponents at divergent and convergent bifurcations were 2.05 ± 1.13 and 1.97 ± 0.95 (mean ± SD) in contrast to the value 3 predicted by Murray's law. Conclusions: In accordance with Murray's law, τ levels are (nearly) maintained in CAM arterial (venular) trees, suggesting vascular adaptation to shear stress. Arterial and venous trees show an interdigitating arrangement providing homogeneous flow pathway properties and have preterminal capillary branches. These properties may facilitate efficient oxygen exchange in the CAM during rapid embryonic growth.
- chorioallantoic membrane (CAM)
- cardiovascular modeling
- Murray's law
- Copyright © 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology