Peristaltic contraction of the embryonic heart tube produces time- and spatial-varying wall shear stress (WSS) and pressure gradients (∇P) across the atrioventricular (AV) canal. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) are a genetically tractable system to investigate cardiac morphogenesis. The use of Tg(fli1a:EGFP)y1 transgenic embryos allowed for delineation and two-dimensional reconstruction of the endocardium. This time-varying wall motion was then prescribed in a two-dimensional moving domain computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model, providing new insights into spatial and temporal variations in WSS and ∇P during cardiac development. The CFD simulations were validated with particle image velocimetry (PIV) across the atrioventricular (AV) canal, revealing an increase in both velocities and heart rates, but a decrease in the duration of atrial systole from early to later stages. At 20-30 hours post fertilization (hpf), simulation results revealed bidirectional WSS across the AV canal in the heart tube in response to peristaltic motion of the wall. At 40-50 hpf, the tube structure undergoes cardiac looping, accompanied by a nearly 3-fold increase in WSS magnitude. At 110-120 hpf, distinct AV valve, atrium, ventricle, and bulbus arteriosus form, accompanied by incremental increases in both WSS magnitude and ∇P, but a decrease in bi-directional flow. Laminar flow develops across the AV canal at 20-30 hpf, and persists at 110-120 hpf. Reynolds numbers at the AV canal increase from 0.07±0.03 at 20-30 hpf to 0.23±0.07 at 110-120 hpf (p< 0.05, n=6), whereas Womersley numbers remain relatively unchanged from 0.11 to 0.13. Our moving domain simulations highlights hemodynamic changes in relation to cardiac morphogenesis; thereby, providing a 2-D quantitative approach to complement imaging analysis.
Lee J, Moghadam ME, Kung E, Cao H, Beebe T, Miller Y, et al. (2013) Moving Domain Computational Fluid Dynamics to Interface with an Embryonic Model of Cardiac Morphogenesis. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72924. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072924