The average human is composed of a torso, a head, 2 arms and 2 legs. In the unfortunate incident that requires for the removal of one of a limb of appendage what happens to the blood vessels and veins that ran through that body part? How are they moved and arranged such that blood flow can once again circulate the body in a healthy fashion, turns out it is caused by something called vascular remodeling that reorganizes the blood vessels to function once again after the often traumatizing event.
In the event when one has an amputation, the lower limbs/legsare usually removed. Afterwards, the veins and blood vessels are left sliced and open, so what happens to the blood flow in this amputee body. Through a process called vascular remodeling – first researched published by Glagov in 1987 – the veins and arteries are expanded or contracted to allow proper blood flow despite accumulations of atherosclerotic lesion mass (the accumulation of body fats or cholesterol in the artery walls). The vascular remodeling process also begins on day 21 of the embryogenesis of the human fetus, when the heart first begins to beat and starts up the initial formation of blood vessels called vasculogenesis. The formation occurs as special cells condense to form blood islands – collections of cells in the early stages of an embryo – which are then used to generate new blood vessels that did not exist before. This works complementarily with another process called angiogenesis, which is the process by which pre-existing vessels are split off to form new ones. For amputees, angiogenesis is the prime remodeling process to allow blood vessels to sprout off and reconnect with the old vessels and thus reestablishing the network of blood circulation.
The process isn’t activated by humans or some external force but rather by chemical signaling within the body. When cells are denied the proper oxygen supply, they releasewhat are called vascular endothelial growth factors, or VEGF’s. This is one of the ways of which the body can stimulate the vascular remodeling process in aim of an injury, embryonic development or physical growth.
The area of vascular remodeling is a new and hot topic of research as there is still a lot that is unknown of them. There is currently no immediate practical usage of the information that is known of it, but it is hypothesized that if we could understand how the process works we could perhaps program the remodeling process to retract away from cancerous tumors and starve them to death of oxygen and nutrients.
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