Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 41, Issue 11, pp 2264–2284 | Cite as

Cerebral Microcirculation and Oxygen Tension in the Human Secondary Cortex

  • A. A. LinningerEmail author
  • I. G. Gould
  • T. Marinnan
  • C.-Y. Hsu
  • M. Chojecki
  • A. Alaraj


The three-dimensional spatial arrangement of the cortical microcirculatory system is critical for understanding oxygen exchange between blood vessels and brain cells. A three-dimensional computer model of a 3 × 3 × 3 mm3 subsection of the human secondary cortex was constructed to quantify oxygen advection in the microcirculation, tissue oxygen perfusion, and consumption in the human cortex. This computer model accounts for all arterial, capillary and venous blood vessels of the cerebral microvascular bed as well as brain tissue occupying the extravascular space. Microvessels were assembled with optimization algorithms emulating angiogenic growth; a realistic capillary bed was built with space filling procedures. The extravascular tissue was modeled as a porous medium supplied with oxygen by advection–diffusion to match normal metabolic oxygen demand. The resulting synthetic computer generated network matches prior measured morphometrics and fractal patterns of the cortical microvasculature. This morphologically accurate, physiologically consistent, multi-scale computer network of the cerebral microcirculation predicts the oxygen exchange of cortical blood vessels with the surrounding gray matter. Oxygen tension subject to blood pressure and flow conditions were computed and validated for the blood as well as brain tissue. Oxygen gradients along arterioles, capillaries and veins agreed with in vivo trends observed recently in imaging studies within experimental tolerances and uncertainty.


Hemodynamics Oxygen perfusion Capillary morphometrics Microvasculature Cerebral vasculature 



The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge NIH for their financial support of this project, NIH-5R21EB004956. The project was also partially supported by NSF grants CBET-0756154 and CBET-1301198. No conflicts of interest were posed in the conduct of this research.


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© Biomedical Engineering Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Linninger
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. G. Gould
    • 1
  • T. Marinnan
    • 2
  • C.-Y. Hsu
    • 1
  • M. Chojecki
    • 1
  • A. Alaraj
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.University of Illinois at Chicago, School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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