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Moussa Zouache, Philip Luthert, Ian Eames; Computational model of blood flow through the choriocapillaris highlights marked heterogeneity of blood flow. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):4656.
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The choroid is a pigmented vascular layer located between the retina and the sclera. It supplies the outer retina with oxygen and nutrients through a dense, one-layered network of capillaries called the choriocapillaris. The blood flow through the choriocapillaris is remarkably high. A discrete lobular segmentation of the plexus is observed in the macula and the posterior fundus. The aim of this study was to investigate, theoretically, the heterogeneity of blood renewal within the choriocapillary plexus over the macular region and posterior pole.
A computational model informed by the angioarchitecture of the choriocapillaris as described in the literature and as revealed in whole mounts stained for CD31, a vascular marker, was built in order to simulate blood flow within choriocapillary lobules. Using a simple geometry, analytical and numerical solutions for the flow were obtained.
The computer model included the spacing and distribution of arterioles and venules connecting with the plexus and derived parameters including the pressure distribution and velocity fields. The model revealed significant heterogeneities in blood renewal over the vascular network. The number of regions of minimal blood renewal was shown to equate to the number of arterioles and venules supplying each choriocapillary lobule.
The choriocapillary plexus displays significant heterogeneities in blood renewal resulting from the intrinsic anatomical and functional organization of the plexus. This implies that there may be areas of critical perfusion even given the very high blood flow rates within the choriocapillaris as a whole. Observations may have relevance for the pathogenesis of degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration. Furthermore, this model provides the basis for a more comprehensive model of the pathophysiology of the back of the eye.
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