The vascular wall: a complex and fascinating structure
The vascular (arterial or venous) wall is a fascinating structure. At the simplest level, we can think of the wall as being composed of three distinct, but interacting, layers (adventitia, media & intima; Figure 1). The vascular wall changes its structure in conditions such as hypertension which can cause a thickening of the wall. Unfortunately, the details of this 'remodeling' process are poorly understood.
Therefore, studying the 3D architecture may provide vital clues for future therapeutic targets.
Amira 3D software: visualize to understand
Researcher at the University of Glasgow have been using
Amira software since version 2.3 following a demonstration of the software at an event hosted by Silicon Graphics in the Glasgow Science Center. It was clear that the system offered significant advantages over other available software at the time. To this day, Amira software continues to offer unique functionality that is essential to the work-flow in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences.
Figure 1: Confocal Microscopy, 3D scan of a mesenteric artery wall. The top panels show the original data in 'voltex' format. The lower panels show the result of segmentation and labeling. In this 'IsoSurface' format the different colored structures are represented as a wireframe mesh which can be exported to other software packages. The left-hand panels show the outer 'adventitial' surface. The right-hand panels show the inner 'intimal' surface and its endothelial cells.