High resolution analysis of microvessels in the developing heart
The coronary arteries get all the acclaim when it comes supplying the heart with blood. But they branch out into a network of blood vessels that also do the work of supplying the heart with blood but don’t get so much of the limelight — they form the heart’s microvasculature. Researchers now investigate its importance in development using a new imaging and analysis toolset. They labelled heart muscle cells and microvasculature in developing quail hearts with different dyes. Using confocal fluorescent microscopy, they imaged these heart muscle cells and blood vessels (pictured) and analysed their orientations. Focusing on one of the heart’s lower chambers, they found the microvasculature followed the helical pattern of organisation of the heart muscle cells. This new approach may provide useful insights into the role of the heart's microvasculature in heart diseases, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, where developing heart cells are misaligned.
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