Fluid dynamics and forces in the HH25 avian embryonic outflow tract
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The embryonic outflow tract (OFT) eventually undergoes aorticopulmonary septation to form the aorta and pulmonary artery, and it is hypothesized that blood flow mechanical forces guide this process. We performed detailed studies of the geometry, wall motions, and fluid dynamics of the HH25 chick embryonic OFT just before septation, using noninvasive 4D high-frequency ultrasound and computational flow simulations. The OFT exhibited expansion and contraction waves propagating from proximal to distal end, with periods of luminal collapse at locations of the two endocardial cushions. This, combined with periods of reversed flow, resulted in the OFT cushions experiencing wall shear stresses (WSS or flow drag forces) with elevated oscillatory characteristics, which could be important to signal for further development of cushions into valves and septum. Furthermore, the OFT exhibits interesting double-helical flow during systole, where a pair of helical flow structures twisted about each other from the proximal to distal end. This coincided with the location of the future aorticopulmonary septum, which also twisted from the proximal to distal end, suggesting that this flow pattern may be guiding OFT septation.
KeywordsEmbryonic outflow tract Computational fluid dynamics Oscillatory wall shear stresses Embryonic ultrasound imaging Double-helical flow Outflow tract septation
This study was supported by the National University of Singapore 2015 Young Investigator Award (PI: Yap), entitled “Fluid Mechanics and Mechanobiology of Congenital Cardiac Outflow Tract Malformations.”
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
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