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Title: A multi-scale/multi-physics model for the theoretical study of the vascular configuration of retinal capillary plexuses based on OCTA data
Abstract The retinal tissue is highly metabolically active and is responsible for translating the visual stimuli into electrical signals to be delivered to the brain. A complex vascular structure ensures an adequate supply of blood and oxygen, which is essential for the function and survival of the retinal tissue. To date, a complete understanding of the configuration of the retinal vascular structures is still lacking. Optical coherence tomography angiography has made available a huge amount of imaging data regarding the main retinal capillary plexuses, namely the superficial capillary plexuses (SCP), intermediate capillary plexuses (ICP) and deep capillary plexuses (DCP). However, the interpretation of these data is still controversial. In particular, the question of whether the three capillary plexuses are connected in series or in parallel remains a matter of debate. In this work, we address this question by utilizing a multi-scale/multi-physics mathematical model to quantify the impact of the two hypothesized vascular configurations on retinal hemodynamics and oxygenation. The response to central retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) and intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation is also simulated depending on whether the capillary plexuses are connected in series or in parallel. The simulation results show the following: (i) in the in series configuration, the plexuses exhibit a differential response, with DCP and ICP experiencing larger pressure drops than SCP; and (ii) in the in parallel configuration, the blood flow redistributes uniformly in the three plexuses. The different vascular configurations show different responses also in terms of oxygen profiles: (i) in the in series configuration, the outer nuclear layer, outer plexiform layer and inner nuclear layer (INL) are those most affected by CRVO and IOP elevation; and (ii) in the in parallel configuration the INL and ganglion cell layer are those most affected. The in series results are consistent with studies on paracentral acute middle maculopathy, secondary to CRVO and with studies on IOP elevation, in which DCP and ICP and the retinal tissues surrounding them are those most affected by ischemia. These findings seem to suggest that the in series configuration better describes the physiology of the vascular retinal capillary network in health and disease.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1853222 1853303
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Mathematical Medicine and Biology: A Journal of the IMA
Page Range / eLocation ID:
77 to 104
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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