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Microvasc Res. 1994 Sep;48(2):190-211.

Slightly altered permeability-surface area products imply some cerebral capillary recruitment during hypercapnia.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794.


To test the capillary recruitment hypothesis in brain, cerebral blood flow was raised markedly in rats by exposure to 8% CO2 (hypercapnia), and capillary permeability-surface area (PS) products were measured. Local cerebral blood flow (LCBF), volume of radiolabeled blood in parenchymal microvessels (also referred to as the blood space or Vb), plus the local capillary influx rate constants (K1) and PS products of [14C]antipyrine and 3-O-[14C]methyl-D-glucose (3OMG) were estimated in 44 brain areas. Hypercapnia raised PaO2 to 140 mm Hg, elevated LCBF by two- to threefold through out the brain, and increased Vb from 5 to 33% (mean = 22%) in 42 of 44 brain areas; hypercapnia did not, however, alter microvessel hematocrit. With hypercapnia, the influx of antipyrine was increased by 40-65% in all brain areas, and the PS products of antipyrine were elevated from 0-35% (mean = 17%). The PS products of antipyrine plus the parenchymal blood spaces suggest modest (< 30%) capillary recruitment in most brain areas as well as some microvessel dilation, mainly in forebrain gray matter and white matter areas. In contrast, hypercapnia did not appreciably alter K1 nor PS of 3OMG; it slightly but not significantly raised the blood levels of glucose. In view of the blood space and antipyrine evidence for modest capillary recruitment and vasodilation, the lack of change in PS of 3OMG implies that glucose transporter activity was lowered by hypercapnia, an effect similar to that reported for high-dose pentobarbital. Finally, the microvessel hematocrit and 3OMG data suggest that cerebral capillary permeability (P) was not increased by hypercapnia. Overall, hypercapnia seems to increase LCBF mainly by raising the velocity of blood flow; capillary recruitment and dilation appear to play relatively minor roles in this flow increase.

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