Simulation of angiogenesis in three dimensions: Application to cerebral cortex

Jonathan P. Alberding, Timothy W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The vasculature is a dynamic structure, growing and regressing in response to embryonic development, growth, changing physiological demands, wound healing, tumor growth and other stimuli. At the microvascular level, network geometry is not predetermined, but emerges as a result of biological responses of each vessel to the stimuli that it receives. These responses may be summarized as angiogenesis, remodeling and pruning. Previous theoretical simulations have shown how two-dimensional vascular patterns generated by these processes in the mesentery are consistent with experimental observations. During early development of the brain, a mesh-like network of vessels is formed on the surface of the cerebral cortex. This network then forms branches into the cortex, forming a three-dimensional network throughout its thickness. Here, a theoretical model is presented for this process, based on known or hypothesized vascular response mechanisms together with experimentally obtained information on the structure and hemodynamics of the mouse cerebral cortex. According to this model, essential components of the system include sensing of oxygen levels in the midrange of partial pressures and conducted responses in vessel walls that propagate information about metabolic needs of the tissue to upstream segments of the network. The model provides insights into the effects of deficits in vascular response mechanisms, and can be used to generate physiologically realistic microvascular network structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1009164
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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