Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First-ever 3-D stress map of developing embryonic heart sheds light on why defects form

Date:
October 31, 2012
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
As a human fetus develops, its heart has to keep pace with the new body's ever-growing demands. For the first time, researchers have been able to visualize in 3-D the stresses induced by flowing blood in an embryonic heart. The technique promises to provide new insight into how and why heart defects develop.

This is a map of the shear stress on a developing heart at four evenly spaced time points during a heart cycle. Red indicates areas of greater stress.
Credit: Biomedical Optics Express

As a human fetus develops, its heart has to keep pace with the new body's ever-growing demands. Much of this is controlled by following genetic blueprints, but the embryonic heart also matures in response to the intense stresses of pumping blood. For the first time, researchers have been able to visualize in 3-D the stresses induced by flowing blood in an embryonic heart.

The technique, which promises to provide new insight into how and why heart defects develop, is described in a paper published today in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

The researchers, led by Andrew M. Rollins, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, looked at a particular type of stress in the heart known as shear stress, which is simply the parallel force of one material sliding along another. In the developing heart, shear stress is induced in the heart's own endocardial cells as blood cells rush past them. Normally, such shear stress helps to control and regulate cellular processes involved in heart development. Even tiny aberrations in the heart beat, however, can alter blood flow patterns and change these developmental forces, leading to congenital heart defects such as abnormal valve formation.

"All previous attempts at shear-stress mapping have been two dimensional, but the 3-D geometry of the embryonic heart is changing hour by hour at these early stages, and the shape of the heart twists and turns as it develops," says Rollins, "so a 2-D projection doesn't really provide a good approximation."

Rollins and his colleagues at Case Western Reserve developed their new imaging method by modifying a technique called Doppler optical coherence tomography, or OCT. In OCT, a beam of infrared light is shined on a tissue and the "echoes" (or reflections) of that light produced at varying depths are used to make an image. "It is just like RADAR or ultrasound," Rollins explains, "except we use infrared light and we image tiny things at really high resolution." The technique has been used to image the interior of blood vessels and is routinely used by ophthalmologists to examine the retina.

"We can use this technique to figure out just how function or dysfunction fits into normal heart development and the development of heart defects," Rollins adds. "An understanding of normal and abnormal development is critical for preventing and treating these defects."

In laboratory experiments, Rollins and colleagues directly measured the heart structure and blood flow within the developing hearts of quail embryos. The data was then used to create 4-D images (basically, 3-D movies), which showed that "locations of high shear correspond with locations of future valve formation," he says. "Now we are investigating the effects of abnormal shear caused by alcohol exposure on valve development."

The researchers hope to take what they have learned from these preliminary animal tests and develop a way to apply this technique to humans. The ultimate goal is to develop a tool that doctors can use to decide if early intervention could put a developing heart back on the right track, preventing a defect.

The other co-authors on the Biomedical Optics Express paper are Lindsy Peterson, graduate research assistant, Michael W. Jenkins research assistant professor of biomedical engineering, and Michiko Watanabe, a professor of pediatrics, anatomy, and genetics, all at Case Western Reserve.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lindsy M. Peterson, Michael W. Jenkins, Shi Gu, Lee Barwick, Michiko Watanabe, Andrew M. Rollins. 4D shear stress maps of the developing heart using Doppler optical coherence tomography. Biomedical Optics Express, 2012; 3 (11): 3022 DOI: 10.1364/BOE.3.003022

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "First-ever 3-D stress map of developing embryonic heart sheds light on why defects form." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031124902.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2012, October 31). First-ever 3-D stress map of developing embryonic heart sheds light on why defects form. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031124902.htm
Optical Society of America. "First-ever 3-D stress map of developing embryonic heart sheds light on why defects form." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121031124902.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins