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Exp Physiol. 2006 Jul;91(4):661-71. Epub 2006 Mar 23.

Human femoral artery and estimated muscle capillary blood flow kinetics following the onset of exercise.

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Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-0302, USA.


The purpose of this study was to compare the kinetics of estimated capillary blood flow (Qcap) to those of femoral artery blood flow (QFA) and estimated muscle oxygen uptake (VO2m). Nine healthy subjects performed a series of transitions from rest to moderate (below estimated lactate threshold, 6 min bouts) knee extension exercise. Pulmonary oxygen uptake (VO2) was measured breath by breath, (QFA) was measured continuously using Doppler ultrasound, and deoxyhaemoglobin ([HHb]) was estimated by near-infrared spectroscopy over the rectus femoris throughout the tests. The time course of (Qcap) was estimated by rearranging the Fick equation (i.e. Qcap = VO2m/(a-v)O2), (arterio - venous O2 difference) using the primary component of VO2 to represent VO2m and [HHb] as a surrogate for (a - v)O2. The overall kinetics of QFA (mean response time, MRT, 13.7 +/- 7.0 s), VO2m (tau, 27.8 +/- 9.0 s) and Qcap (MRT, 41.4 +/- 19.0 s) were significantly (P < 0.05) different from each other. We conclude that for moderate intensity knee extension exercise, conduit artery blood flow (QFA) kinetics may not be a reasonable approximation of blood flow kinetics in the microcirculation (Qcap), the site of gas exchange. This temporal dissociation suggests that blood flow may be controlled differently at the conduit artery level than in the microcirculation.

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