Modeling structural adaptation of microcirculation

Axel R. Pries, Timothy W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


The functional properties of microcirculation crucially depend on its angioarchitecture, (i.e., vessel arrangement and morphology). The microcirculation is subject to continuous dynamic structural adaptation (i.e., remodeling) controlled by hemodynamic and metabolic stimuli. Due to the complexity of the interactions among stimuli, reactions, and functional properties, an adequate understanding of structural adaptation requires mathematical models in addition to experimental investigations. Mathematical models have been developed that allow the prediction of realistic vascular properties, based on generic patterns of vascular responses. These models can be used to investigate and predict distributions of vessel morphology consistent with certain putative adaptation principles of terminal vascular beds in response to local hemodynamic and metabolic conditions. They have suggested new hypotheses, including the importance of conducted responses in network adaptation, and can explain the mechanisms underlying observed structural and functional network properties. In the future, the value of such models can be enhanced by including the effects of longitudinal stretch and pulsatility, the relationship between acute tone and structural adaptation, and the description of molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying structural responses of microvessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-764
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2008


  • Angioadaptation
  • Conducted response
  • Pressure
  • Shear stress
  • Wall stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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