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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1994 Jan;76(1):485-9.

Measurement of plasma volume in rats with use of fluorescent-labeled albumin molecules.

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  • 1John B. Pierce Laboratory, Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06519.


We describe a method for measuring plasma volume (PV) in small animals that allows small sample sizes but does not require the use of radioisotopes and thus is a convenient approach for making repeated measurements. Texas Red covalently bound to albumin (TR-A) was used in a typical indicator-dilution technique to measure PV. The relative fluorescent intensity of TR-A is linear to its concentration (up to 0.15 mg/ml) at an excitation lambda of 590 nm and an emission lambda of 610 nm. Catheters were inserted through the right jugular vein of anesthetized rats and threaded into the vena cava. A 0.5-ml control blood sample was taken, a measured quantity of TR-A was injected, and the catheter was flushed with saline. A 0.5-ml postinjection sample was taken 5 min after TR-A injection. PV was calculated by comparing the difference between the relative fluorescent intensity of control and postinjection plasma samples to a standard. The PV of 22 rats [362 +/- 14 (SE) g] was 14.1 +/- 0.4 ml (39.6 +/- 0.9 ml/kg body wt) measured by the TR-A method and 12.8 +/- 0.4 ml (35.9 +/- 1.0 ml/kg body wt) measured by a standard radioiodinated albumin method. There was a strong correlation between PV measured by both methods in the same rat (r = 0.90, P < 0.01). Infusion experiments indicated that the TR-A method can detect acute changes in PV, and repeated measurements of PV made on a chronically instrumented rat demonstrated that the method can reliably measure PV on consecutive days.

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