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J Physiol. 1980 Dec;309:341-55.

Filtration coefficients and osmotic reflexion coefficients of the walls of single frog mesenteric capillaries.


1. Single capillaries in the mesentery of pithed frogs were perfused with frog Ringer solutions containing various concentrations of bovine serum albumin and myoglobin. Filtration coefficients (Lp) of the capillary wall were determined from measurements of fluid filtration rate at a series of different capillary pressures (Michel, Mason, Curry & Tooke, 1974). The osmotic reflexion coefficients (sigma) to albumin and myoglobin were determined by comparing the effective osmotic pressure exerted by these solutes across the capillary walls with their osmotic pressures in a membrane osmometer. 2. Lp and sigma to albumin were measured in eighteen vessels at different sites in the capillary bed with the tissue temperature in the range of 20-24 degrees C. Lp varied from 1.5 x 10(-3) to 15 x 10(-3) micrometer sec-1 cm H2O-1 having a higher mean value in nine venous capillaries (11.33 x 10(-3) micrometer sec-1 cm H2O-1) than in nine arterial and mid-capillaries (4.83 x 10(-3) micrometer sec-1 cm H2O-1). For all eighteen vessels sigma to albumin had a mean value of 0.816 (S.E. of mean +/- 0.027). There was no correlation between Lp and sigma. The mean value of sigma for the venous capillaries was 0.841 (S.E. of mean +/- 0.04) and the other nine vessels 0.802 (S.E. of mean +/- 0.034). 3. The osmotic reflexion coefficient to myoglobin was measured in seven different capillaries and found to have a mean value of 0.348 (S.E. of mean +/- 0.012) at 20-24 degrees C. The Lp of the capillaries varied from 3.0 x 10(-3) to 10.5 x 10(-3) micrometer sec-1 cm H2O-1. There was no correlation between sigma for myoglobin and Lp. 4. The method of Curry, Mason & Michel (1976) was used to measure sigma for urea in eight capillaries at 20-24 degrees C (sigma for albumin was also measured in two of these vessels). The mean value of sigma for urea was 0.061 (S.E. of mean +/- 0.012). The exclusive water channel (Curry et al. 1976) was calculated to have a value of 0.209 x 10(-3) micrometer sec-1 H2O-1. 5. The effects of temperature on Lp were investigated in a further seven capillaries. It was found that when tissue temperature changed slowly (less than 2 degrees C min-1) the changes of Lp were similar to the reciprocal changes in the viscosity of water. 6. The estimates of Lp and sigma for myoglobin and serum albumin are discussed in terms of the classical pore theory and in terms of a theory that the molecular sieving properties of the capillary wall reside in a matrix of molecular fibres which covers the endothelial cells and fills the channels through or between them. A quantitative theory of a fibre matrix membrane is given in the Appendix.

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