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J Physiol. 1996 Oct 15;496 ( Pt 2):543-9.

Relationship between limb and muscle blood flow in man.

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  • 1Turku PET Center, Department of Medicine, University of Turku, Finland.


1. Since direct measurement of muscle blood flow in humans has been difficult, estimations of muscle flow have been made from measured total limb blood flow using a classic equation that predicts that the fraction of resting blood flow through muscle tissue decreases as total limb flow increases. 2. We used positron emission tomography and 15O-labelled water to directly quantify resting muscle and total limb blood flow in cross-sections of the femoral region in twenty-eight normal subjects (age, 30 +/- 8 years; body mass index, 24.1 +/- 3.3 Kg m-2) under conditions of constant environmental temperature of 22-23 degrees C. 3. Muscle blood flow averaged 3.1 +/- 1.7 ml (100 ml muscle)-1 min-1 (range, 1.1-7.5 ml (100 ml muscle)-1 min-1 and cross-sectional limb blood flow averaged 2.5 +/- 1.1 ml (100 ml limb)-1 min-1) (range, 1.0-4.8 ml (100 ml limb)-1 min-1). A linear relationship was observed between limb and muscle blood flow, and a regression equation was calculated for estimation of muscle blood flow bases on limb flow: muscle flow = (1.41 +/- 0.10) limb flow - (0.43 +/- 0.28). The slope of this equation was significantly greater than 1 (P < 0.001) indicating that the fraction of blood flow perfusing muscle tissue increases as a function of total limb flow. 4. These data provide a new equation for estimation of resting muscle blood flow in normal subjects, and demonstrate that muscle blood flow is the primary determinant of resting blood flow in man.

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