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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 15;91(6):2081-5.

Noninvasive measurement of microvascular and interstitial oxygen profiles in a human tumor in SCID mice.

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Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


Simultaneous measurements of intravascular and interstitial oxygen partial pressure (PO2) in any tissue have not previously been reported, despite the importance of oxygen in health and in disease. This is due to the limitations of current techniques, both invasive and noninvasive. We have optically measured microscopic profiles of PO2 with high spatial resolution in subcutaneous tissue and transplanted tumors in mice by combining an oxygen-dependent phosphorescence quenching method and a transparent tissue preparation. The strengths of our approach include the ability to follow PO2 in the same location for several weeks and to relate these measurements to local blood flow and vascular architecture. Our results show that (i) PO2 values in blood vessels in well-vascularized regions of a human colon adenocarcinoma xenograft are comparable to those in surrounding arterioles and venules, (ii) carbogen (95% O2/5% CO2) breathing increases microvascular PO2 in tumors, and (iii) in unanesthetized and anesthetized mice PO2 drops to hypoxic values at < 200 microns from isolated vessels but drops by < 5 mmHg (1 mmHg = 133 Pa) in highly vascularized tumor regions. Our method should permit noninvasive evaluations of oxygen-modifying agents and offer further mechanistic information about tumor pathophysiology in tissue preparations where the surface of the tissue can be observed.

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