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Changes in labial capillary density on ascent to and descent from high altitude.

Gilbert-Kawai, E; Coppel, J; Phillip, H; Grocott, M; Ince, C; Martin, D; (2016) Changes in labial capillary density on ascent to and descent from high altitude. F1000Res , 5 , Article 2107. 10.12688/f1000research.7649.1. Green open access

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Abstract

Present knowledge of how the microcirculation is altered by prolonged exposure to hypoxia at high altitude is incomplete and modification of existing analytical techniques may improve our knowledge considerably. We set out to use a novel simplified method of measuring in vivo capillary density during an expedition to high altitude using a CytoCam incident dark field imaging video-microscope. The simplified method of data capture involved recording one-second images of the mucosal surface of the inner lip to reveal data about microvasculature density in ten individuals. This was done on ascent to, and descent from, high altitude. Analysis was conducted offline by two independent investigators blinded to the participant identity, testing conditions and the imaging site.  Additionally we monitored haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit data to see if we could support or refute mechanisms of altered density relating to vessel recruitment. Repeated sets of paired values were compared using Kruskall Wallis Analysis of Variance tests, whilst comparisons of values between sites was by related samples Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. Correlation between different variables was performed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient, and concordance between analysing investigators using intra-class correlation coefficient. There was a significant increase in capillary density from London on ascent to high altitude; median capillaries per field of view area increased from 22.8 to 25.3 (p=0.021). There was a further increase in vessel density during the six weeks spent at altitude (25.3 to 32.5, p=0.017). Moreover, vessel density remained high on descent to Kathmandu (31.0 capillaries per field of view area), despite a significant decrease in haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit. Using a simplified technique, we have demonstrated an increase in capillary density on early and sustained exposure to hypobaric hypoxia at thigh altitude, and that this remains elevated on descent to normoxia. The technique is simple, reliable and reproducible.

Type: Article
Title: Changes in labial capillary density on ascent to and descent from high altitude.
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/f1000research.7649.1
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.7649.1
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2016 Gilbert-Kawai E et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Data associated with the article are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Zero "No rights reserved" data waiver (CC0 1.0 Public domain dedication).
Keywords: Altitude, Capillaries, Microcirculation, Microscopy, Oxygen
UCL classification: UCL
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 Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Surgical Biotechnology
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 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 > Infection, Immunity and Inflammation Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1522099
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