Validation of a New Semi-Automated Technique to Evaluate Muscle Capillarization

  • Sam B. BallakEmail author
  • Moi H. Yap
  • Peter J. Harding
  • Hans Degens
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 876)


The method of capillary domains has often been used to study capillarization of skeletal and heart muscle. However, the conventional data processing method using a digitizing tablet is an arduous and time-consuming task. Here we compare a new semi-automated capillary domain data collection and analysis in muscle tissue with the standard capillary domain method. The capillary density (1481 ± 59 vs. 1447 ± 54 caps mm−2; R2:0.99; P < 0.01) and heterogeneity of capillary spacing (0.085 ± 0.002 vs. 0.085 ± 0.002; R2:0.95; P < 0.01) were similar in both methods. The fiber cross-sectional area correlated well between the methods (R2:0.84; P < 0.01) and did not differ significantly (~8 % larger in the old than new method at P = 0.08). The latter was likely due to differences in outlining the contours between the two methods. In conclusion, the semi-automated method gives quantitatively and qualitatively similar data as the conventional method and saves a considerable amount of time.


Validation Capillarization Muscle Capillary density Fiber cross-sectional area 



This research was funded by the European Commission through MOVE-AGE, an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program (2011–2015). The Matlab codes are available from the authors on request.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sam B. Ballak
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Moi H. Yap
    • 1
  • Peter J. Harding
    • 1
  • Hans Degens
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Healthcare Science Cognitive Motor Function Research GroupManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Human Movement SciencesLaboratory for Myology, MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, VU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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