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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2000 Aug;279(2):H657-71.

Estimating oxygen transport resistance of the microvascular wall.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering and Center for Computational Medicine and Biology, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


The problem of diffusion of O(2) across the endothelial surface in precapillary vessels and its utilization in the vascular wall remains unresolved. To establish a relationship between precapillary release of O(2) and vascular wall consumption, we estimated the intravascular flux of O(2) on the basis of published in vivo measurements. To interpret the data, we utilized a diffusion model of the vascular wall and computed possible physiological ranges for O(2) consumption. We found that many flux values were not consistent with the diffusion model. We estimated the mitochondrial-based maximum O(2) consumption of the vascular wall (M(mt)) and a possible contribution to O(2) consumption of nitric oxide production by endothelial cells (M(NO)). Many values of O(2) consumption predicted from the diffusion model exceeded M(mt) + M(NO). In contrast, reported values of O(2) consumption for endothelial and smooth muscle cell suspensions and vascular strips in vitro do not exceed M(mt). We conjecture that most of the reported values of intravascular O(2) flux are overestimated, and the likely source is in the experimental estimates of convective O(2) transport at upstream and downstream points of unbranched vascular segments.

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