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Lymphat Res Biol. 2010 Sep;8(3):143-8. doi: 10.1089/lrb.2009.0029.

Lymph flow in instrumented dogs varies with exercise intensity.

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Department of Integrative Physiology, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas 76107, USA.



Although it is generally accepted that exercise accelerates lymph flow, no study has directly measured lymph flow as a function of exercise intensity. In this study, we have measured flow in the thoracic lymph duct of five instrumented dogs while they ran on a treadmill.


Dogs were surgically instrumented with an ultrasonic flow transducer on the thoracic lymph duct and a catheter in the descending thoracic aorta. After recovery from surgery, the dogs ran on a treadmill at speeds which varied stepwise from 0 to 10 mph and from 10 to 0 mph. Dogs ran for 1 min at each speed with 15 min rest between each exercise. Heart rate increased significantly during exercise, whereas mean aortic pressure did not change. Resting lymph flow was 1.7+/-0.2 ml/min. Exercise at 1.5 mph significantly increased lymph flow to 3.9 +/- 0.6 ml/min (P < 0.01), 121% higher than resting flow. Lymph flow was further elevated at higher treadmill speeds, reaching 9.0 +/-1.6 ml/min (P < 0.01) at 10 mph, 419% higher than resting flow. Regression analysis demonstrated a linear relationship between treadmill speed and the percent increase in lymph flow. Lymph flow returned to the resting rate 1-2 min post-exercise.


Lymph flow in the thoracic duct is positively correlated with exercise intensity.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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