Organ-wide 3D-imaging and topological analysis of the continuous microvascular network in a murine lymph node

Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 16:5:16534. doi: 10.1038/srep16534.


Understanding of the microvasculature has previously been limited by the lack of methods capable of capturing and modelling complete vascular networks. We used novel imaging and computational techniques to establish the topology of the entire blood vessel network of a murine lymph node, combining 63,706 confocal images at 2 μm pixel resolution to cover a volume of 3.88 mm(3). Detailed measurements including the distribution of vessel diameters, branch counts, and identification of voids were subsequently re-visualised in 3D revealing regional specialisation within the network. By focussing on critical immune microenvironments we quantified differences in their vascular topology. We further developed a morphology-based approach to identify High Endothelial Venules, key sites for lymphocyte extravasation. These data represent a comprehensive and continuous blood vessel network of an entire organ and provide benchmark measurements that will inform modelling of blood vessel networks as well as enable comparison of vascular topology in different organs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Lymph Nodes / anatomy & histology
  • Lymph Nodes / blood supply*
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microvessels / anatomy & histology*