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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2001 Nov;91(5):2255-65.

A theoretical model for oxygen transport in skeletal muscle under conditions of high oxygen demand.

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Program in Biomedical Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.


Oxygen transport from capillaries to exercising skeletal muscle is studied by use of a Krogh-type cylinder model. The goal is to predict oxygen consumption under conditions of high demand, on the basis of a consideration of transport processes occurring at the microvascular level. Effects of the decline in oxygen content of blood flowing along capillaries, intravascular resistance to oxygen diffusion, and myoglobin-facilitated diffusion are included. Parameter values are based on human skeletal muscle. The dependence of oxygen consumption on oxygen demand, perfusion, and capillary density are examined. When demand is moderate, the tissue is well oxygenated and consumption is slightly less than demand. When demand is high, capillary oxygen content declines rapidly with axial distance and radial oxygen transport is limited by diffusion resistance within the capillary and the tissue. Under these conditions, much of the tissue is hypoxic, consumption is substantially less than demand, and consumption is strongly dependent on capillary density. Predicted consumption rates are comparable with experimentally observed maximal rates of oxygen consumption.

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