2021 AMI Online Salon

Neurovascular Coupling: Pericyte Control of Retinal Blood Flowoff

Project Details

  • Entrant Name: Emilyn Frohn
  • Client: Gregory W. Schwartz, PhD; Committee: Christine Young, Leah Lebowicz, Rex Twedt
  • Copyright: Emilyn Frohn, 2021
  • Medium/software used: ImageJ FIJI®, Materialise Mimics®, Pixologic ZBrush®, Autodesk 3ds Max®, tyFlow®, Redshift®, Adobe After Effects®
  • Final presentation format: Animation, mp4, 720p
  • Primary Audience: Grant reviewers, scientists, and physicians

Project Description

Diabetic retinopathy, a vascular complication of diabetes, is the leading cause of vision loss in the US. Neurovascular coupling, the control of blood flow by pericytes and other cells in response to increased neural and metabolic activity, may be disrupted early in clinical progression of diabetic retinopathy. This animation presents this theory of neurovascular coupling’s participation in diabetic retinopathy pathology and disseminates this research by educating viewers about neurovascular coupling in retinal health. Data-driven 3D models are reconstructed from confocal microscopy to accurately visualize cellular spatial relationships and the dense network of capillaries in the retina. Translucent materials allow for visualization of vessel contents and their velocity as blood flow is regulated by pericytes. Green in calcium signaling replicates color seen in experimental imaging. Rich, warm colors are intended to captivate the audience and allow them to quickly recognize cell types.