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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Measuring contraction propagation and localizing pacemaker cells using high speed video microscopy
Author(s): Tony J. Akl; Gerard L. Coté; Zhanna V. Nepiyushchikh; Anatoliy A. Gashev; David C. Zawieja
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Paper Abstract

Previous studies have shown the ability of many lymphatic vessels to contract phasically to pump lymph. Every lymphangion can act like a heart with pacemaker sites that initiate the phasic contractions. The contractile wave propagates along the vessel to synchronize the contraction. However, determining the location of the pacemaker sites within these vessels has proven to be very difficult. A high speed video microscopy system with an automated algorithm to detect pacemaker location and calculate the propagation velocity, speed, duration, and frequency of the contractions is presented in this paper. Previous methods for determining the contractile wave propagation velocity manually were time consuming and subject to errors and potential bias. The presented algorithm is semiautomated giving objective results based on predefined criteria with the option of user intervention. The system was first tested on simulation images and then on images acquired from isolated microlymphatic mesenteric vessels. We recorded contraction propagation velocities around 10 mm/s with a shortening speed of 20.4 to 27.1 μm/s on average and a contraction frequency of 7.4 to 21.6 contractions/min. The simulation results showed that the algorithm has no systematic error when compared to manual tracking. The system was used to determine the pacemaker location with a precision of 28 μm when using a frame rate of 300 frames per second.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 February 2011
PDF: 9 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 16(2) 026016 doi: 10.1117/1.3544512
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 16, Issue 2
Show Author Affiliations
Tony J. Akl, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Gerard L. Coté, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Zhanna V. Nepiyushchikh, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Anatoliy A. Gashev, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
David C. Zawieja, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)


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