Scanning Microscopy


A review of quantitative measurements show casting materials shrink from 0.2 - 20% and have viscosities ranging from 1.4 - 100,000 centipoise. Blood vessels have highly variable mechanical properties. Some microvessels are very stiff having little change in dimensions with pressure. Larger vessels generally change diameter significantly but show highly variable changes in length with pressure. Perfusion fixation does not fix the dimensions of blood vessels. Dog carotid arteries well fixed with glutaraldehyde at physiologic dimensions retain ≈20% of their elastic recoil circumferentially and ≈30% longitudinally. We recommend vascular casting as a method of accurately measuring the vasculature if care is taken to use low shrinkage casting resins and maintain physiologic transmural pressures for the duration of any casting procedure, even if prefixation is used. We measured a ≈10% error in our method of measuring both the size and location of periorificial atherosclerotic lesions from aortic casts. Little is known about how vascular smooth muscle tone changes during casting.

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