Changes in labial capillary density on ascent to and descent from high altitude

Gilbert-Kawai, E., Coppel, J., Hennis, P. ORCID: 0000-0002-8216-998X, Grocott, M., Ince, C. and Martin, D., 2016. Changes in labial capillary density on ascent to and descent from high altitude. F1000Research, 5, p. 2107. ISSN 2046-1402

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Abstract

Present knowledge of how the microcirculation is altered by prolonged exposure to hypoxia at high altitude is incomplete and modification of existing analytical techniques may improve our knowledge considerably. We set out to use a novel simplified method of measuring in vivo capillary density during an expedition to high altitude using a CytoCam incident dark field imaging video-microscope.
The simplified method of data capture involved recording one-second images of the mucosal surface of the inner lip to reveal data about microvasculature density in ten individuals. This was done on ascent to, and descent from, high altitude. Analysis was conducted offline by two independent investigators blinded to the participant identity, testing conditions and the imaging site. Additionally we monitored haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit data to see if we could support or refute mechanisms of altered density relating to vessel recruitment. Repeated sets of paired values were compared using Kruskall Wallis Analysis of Variance tests, whilst comparisons of values between sites was by related samples Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test. Correlation between different variables was performed using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, and concordance between analysing investigators using intra-class correlation coefficient.
There was a significant increase in capillary density from London on ascent to high altitude; median capillaries per field of view area increased from 22.8 to 25.3 (p=0.021). There was a further increase in vessel density during the six weeks spent at altitude (25.3 to 32.5, p=0.017). Moreover, vessel density remained high on descent to Kathmandu (31.0 capillaries per field of view area), despite a significant decrease in haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit.
Using a simplified technique, we have demonstrated an increase in capillary density on early and sustained exposure to hypobaric hypoxia at thigh altitude, and that this remains elevated on descent to normoxia. The technique is simple, reliable and reproducible.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: F1000Research
Creators: Gilbert-Kawai, E., Coppel, J., Hennis, P., Grocott, M., Ince, C. and Martin, D.
Publisher: F1000 Research Ltd.
Date: 30 August 2016
Volume: 5
ISSN: 2046-1402
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.12688/f1000research.7649.1DOI
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 26 Sep 2017 14:52
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2017 14:00
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/31704

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