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Am J Physiol. 1994 Sep;267(3 Pt 2):H1214-21.

Simulation of O2 transport in skeletal muscle: diffusive exchange between arterioles and capillaries.

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Department of Physiology, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724.


Theoretical simulations of oxygen transport in skeletal muscle are used to study the role of arterioles in oxygen delivery. A three-dimensional configuration of capillaries and arterioles in a cuboidal tissue region is simulated, based on observations of hamster cheek pouch retractor muscle. Equations describing convective and diffusive oxygen transport are solved using a Green's function method. In resting muscle, predicted oxygen saturation of capillary blood increases as it flows toward arterioles, and adjacent capillaries flowing in opposite directions show very similar variations in saturation. Diffusive oxygen loss from arterioles equals about 85% of consumption. Capillaries absorb much of this oxygen (equal to approximately 45% of consumption) and deliver it at downstream locations. Thus diffusive exchange between arterioles and capillaries plays an important part in distributing oxygen throughout the tissue. At higher flow and consumption rates, the relative amounts of oxygen diffusing out of arterioles and into capillaries decrease. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that oxygen content of arteriolar blood participates in metabolic regulation of blood flow.

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