Date of Award



Biomedical and General Engineering


Trevor Cardinal


The goal of this study was to develop analysis tools to assess skeletal muscle vasculature on a network level. In conjunction with this goal, this project also assessed whether the gracillis anterior muscle of a mouse was sufficiently thin to perform a comprehensive morphological analysis, and whether the data generated from these methods would yield reasonable computation of hemodynamic parameters. Horton's Law of Stream Numbers and the diameter-defined Strahler method were applied to assess the vasculature as a whole, and the results were comparable to previous work. The dimensional and branching characteristics of the network were similar to previous experiments; however, the ability to reference microscope slides containing the muscle to cross-reference the degree of three-dimensional branching will improve results. On a whole, a comprehensive morphological assessment was performed on the gracillis anterior muscle using two-dimensional images; however, future work should supplement the images with cross-sectional measurements assessing capillary density for vessels of 8μm and smaller. The hemodynamic analysis yielded pressure profiles and individual vessel flow rates consistent with published literature values. The elemental network provides a more realistic representation of network morphology, whereas the segmental network should be used for hemodynamic calculations. Overall, the analysis methods presented in this paper provide a solid foundational tool that has the potential to illuminate patterns on a network (or systems) level that could not otherwise be seen.