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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1988 Dec;65(6):2484-9.

Measurement of carotid body blood flow in cats by use of radioactive microspheres.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104-6085.


To resolve the controversy regarding carotid body blood flow, we used the radioactive microsphere technique for determination of tissue blood flow. We also measured the blood flow to several other tissues in the cat. Blood flow experiments were performed on 13 cats that were anesthetized, paralyzed, and mechanically ventilated with air. Different numbers of differently labeled 9-, 15-, and 25-micron microspheres were injected via a catheter into the left atrium. It was determined that one injection of 5 x 10(6) 15-micron microspheres was appropriate for the determination of carotid body blood flow. Flows to the carotid bodies and other organs by use of this protocol were as follows (ml.min-1.100 g-1, means +/- SE): carotid bodies, 1,417 +/- 143; adrenal glands, 406 +/- 89; left kidney, 355 +/- 69; right kidney, 375 +/- 74; heart, 201 +/- 39; liver 81 +/- 14; pancreas, 80 +/- 21; superior cervical ganglia, 62 +/- 9; carotid artery wall, 2.4 +/- 1.1. The blood flow to the carotid bodies was the highest for any organ. This measurement provides new evidence that tissue blood flow to the carotid body is very high. This high flow is consistent with the prompt physiological reflex functions of the carotid body.

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