Modeling of Kidney Hemodynamics: Probability-Based Topology of an Arterial Network

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Through regulation of the extracellular fluid volume, the kidneys provide important long-term regulation of blood pressure. At the level of the individual functional unit (the nephron), pressure and flow control involves two different mechanisms that both produce oscillations. The nephrons are arranged in a complex branching structure that delivers blood to each nephron and, at the same time, provides a basis for an interaction between adjacent nephrons. The functional consequences of this interaction are not understood, and at present it is not possible to address this question experimentally. We provide experimental data and a new modeling approach to clarify this problem. To resolve details of microvascular structure, we collected 3D data from more than 150 afferent arterioles in an optically cleared rat kidney. Using these results together with published micro-computed tomography (μCT) data we develop an algorithm for generating the renal arterial network. We then introduce a mathematical model describing blood flow dynamics and nephron to nephron interaction in the network. The model includes an implementation of electrical signal propagation along a vascular wall. Simulation results show that the renal arterial architecture plays an important role in maintaining adequate pressure levels and the self-sustained dynamics of nephrons.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1004922
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number7
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016

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