Abstract: Placental transport is the main factor affecting the health and development of the fetus. Due to the placenta's geometrical and mathematical complexity, the structure-function relations of placental terminal villi have not been successfully modeled. Hence, a novel modeling approach is proposed.
Computational models of four different specimens were generated from the three-dimensional reconstruction of confocal laser scanning microscopic image stacks. To evaluate the capabilities of the proposed methodology, stationary oxygen diffusion transport was calculated in the terminal villus volumes.
The reconstructions automatically provided the spatial arrangement of the fetal capillaries inside the terminal villi. The surface and volume ratios between the fetal capillaries and the villus were also calculated, and the effects of model parameters on the placental diffusive capacity were assessed by parametric analysis.
The potential of three-dimensional reconstructions combined with finite element analysis as a research tool for the human placenta was tested. The methodology herein could serve in the future as a simulation platform for complicated in vivo and in vitro scenarios.
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7 July 2016