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Structure-function relationships in the feto-placental circulation from in silico interpretation of micro-CT vascular structures

Byrne, M; Aughwane, R; James, JL; Hutchinson, C; Arthurs, O; Sebire, N; Ourselin, S; ... Clark, AR; + view all (2021) Structure-function relationships in the feto-placental circulation from in silico interpretation of micro-CT vascular structures. Journal of Theoretical Biology 10.1016/j.jtbi.2021.110630. (In press).

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Abstract

A well-functioning placenta is critical for healthy fetal development, as the placenta brings fetal blood in close contact with nutrient rich maternal blood, enabling exchange of nutrients and waste between mother and fetus. The feto-placental circulation forms a complex branching structure, providing blood to fetal capillaries, which must receive sufficient blood flow to ensure effective exchange, but at a low enough pressure to prevent damage to placental circulatory structures. The branching structure of the feto-placental circulation is known to be altered in complications such as fetal growth restriction, and the presence of regions of vascular dysfunction (such as hypovascularity or thrombosis) are proposed to elevate risk of placental pathology. Here we present a methodology to combine micro-computed tomography and computational model-based analysis of the branching structure of the feto-placental circulation in ex vivo placentae from normal term pregnancies. We analyse how vascular structure relates to function in this key organ of pregnancy; demonstrating that there is a 'resilience' to placental vascular structure-function relationships. We find that placentae with variable chorionic vascular structures, both with and without a Hyrtl's anastomosis between the umbilical arteries, and those with multiple regions of poorly vascularised tissue are able to function with a normal vascular resistance. Our models also predict that by progressively introducing local heterogeneity in placental vascular structure, large increases in feto-placental vascular resistances are induced. This suggests that localised heterogeneities in placental structure could potentially provide an indicator of increased risk of placental dysfunction.

Type: Article
Title: Structure-function relationships in the feto-placental circulation from in silico interpretation of micro-CT vascular structures
Location: England
DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2021.110630
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2021.110630
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Placenta, computational model, haemodynamics, micro-CT
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Maternal and Fetal Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Neurosciences Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Med Phys and Biomedical Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10122476
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