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The estimation error of skeletal muscle capillary supply is significantly reduced by 3D method

The estimation error of skeletal muscle capillary supply is significantly reduced by 3D method

Microvascular Research 79(1): 40-46

Capillary supply of individual skeletal muscle fibers is usually evaluated from two-dimensional (2D) images of thin transverse sections by the number of capillary profiles around a fiber (CAF). This method is inherently inaccurate and the resulting capillary length measurement errors can be avoided by using an alternative three-dimensional (3D) approach where the mean length of capillaries around individual muscle fibers per fiber length (Lcap/Lfib) is measured from 3D images acquired by confocal microscopy. We quantified the error of the 2D method and its reduction by using a 3D approach in realistic geometrical models of muscle fiber capillary bed and in true muscle samples. In models we showed that Lcap/Lfib was sensitive to different arrangements of capillaries, while CAF underestimated capillarization since it could not detect the increased length of capillary bed. In true muscle samples, we detected statistically significant differences in the capillary supply of control and denervated rat soleus muscles by both 2D and 3D methods. Lcap/Lfib was larger than CAF in control muscles reflecting their more complicated capillary bed. Thus, 3D approach is more sensitive in agreement with the analysis of geometrical models. We conclude that the 3D method, though technically more demanding than 2D method, represents a more precise approach to evaluation of muscle capillarization. Moreover, the 3D method could be applied to other organs and we suggest potential medical applications.

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Accession: 056333619

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PMID: 19913564

DOI: 10.1016/j.mvr.2009.11.005

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