Spontaneous oscillations in a model for active control of microvessel diameters

J. C. Arciero, T. W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


A new theory is presented for the origin of spontaneous oscillations in blood vessel diameters that are observed experimentally in the microcirculation. These oscillations, known as vasomotion, involve timevarying contractions of the vascular smooth muscle in the walls of arterioles. It is shown that such oscillations can arise as a result of interactions between the mechanics of the vessel wall and the dynamics of the active contraction of smooth muscle cells in response to circumferential tension in the wall. A theoretical model is developed in which the diameter and the degree of activation in a vessel are dynamic variables. The model includes effects of wall shear stress and oxygen-dependent metabolic signals on smooth muscle activation and is applied to a single vessel and to simplified network structures. The model equations predict limit cycle oscillations for certain ranges of parameters such as wall shear stress, arterial pressure and oxygen consumption rate. Predicted characteristics of the oscillations, including their sensitivity to arterial pressure, are consistent with experimental observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalMathematical Medicine and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Blood flow regulation
  • Smooth muscle mechanics
  • Vascular tone
  • Vasomotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Spontaneous oscillations in a model for active control of microvessel diameters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this