Branch-based model for the diameters of the pulmonary airways: accounting for departures from self-consistency and registration errors

Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2012 Jun;295(6):1027-44. doi: 10.1002/ar.22476. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


We examine a previously published branch-based approach for modeling airway diameters that is predicated on the assumption of self-consistency across all levels of the tree. We mathematically formulate this assumption, propose a method to test it and develop a more general model to be used when the assumption is violated. We discuss the effect of measurement error on the estimated models and propose methods that take account of error. The methods are illustrated on data from MRI and CT images of silicone casts of two rats, two normal monkeys, and one ozone-exposed monkey. Our results showed substantial departures from self-consistency in all five subjects. When departures from self-consistency exist, we do not recommend using the self-consistency model, even as an approximation, as we have shown that it may likely lead to an incorrect representation of the diameter geometry. The new variance model can be used instead. Measurement error has an important impact on the estimated morphometry models and needs to be addressed in the analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchi / anatomy & histology*
  • Macaca mulatta / anatomy & histology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley / anatomy & histology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed