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Am J Physiol. 1994 May;266(5 Pt 2):H1822-8.

Fluctuations in microvascular blood flow parameters caused by hemodynamic mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, University of Rochester, New York 14642.


We have developed a mathematical model of microvascular network blood flow in which the nonlinear flow properties of blood and the nonuniform axial distribution of red blood cells in each vessel, as well as disproportionate cell partitioning at bifurcations, are all accounted for. The movements of red blood cells in the network are tracked; hence, the model is able to simulate temporal variations in local flow parameters in the network due to hemodynamic mechanisms. The model was applied to four rat mesenteric networks for which the topology, boundary conditions, blood velocity, and discharge hematocrit (Hctd) had been measured for each branch. Temporal variations in Hctd and blood velocity after simulation convergence were predicted. In some cases of the three vessels connected to a node, Hctd of one vessel fluctuates in a simple periodic form, Hctd of the second one oscillates in a more complex periodic form, whereas the Hctd of the third one does not oscillate at all. These variations were obtained with constant flow boundary conditions and, therefore, are due to hemodynamic factors alone. The temporal variations in flow parameters predicted by the model simulations are caused by hemorheological mechanisms and would be superimposed on variations caused by other mechanisms (e.g., vasomotion). The frequencies of the predicted fluctuations in blood velocity are in qualitative agreement with observed in vivo variations in dual-slit velocity in the arterioles of the cremaster muscle of anesthetized Golden hamster.

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