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J Physiol. 1976 Oct;261(2):255-69.

The effect of transmural pressure on pumping activity in isolated bovine lymphatic vessels.


1. Isolated preparations of bovine mesenteric lymphatics containing about seven valved segments were cannulated and set up in a perfusion system so that, when the preparation was not contracting, the inflow and outflow pressures were exactly equal and there was no flow through the preparation. 2. Transmural pressure was varied by raising or lowering the inflow and outflow pressures simultaneously by the same amount. 3. The isolated vessels showed rhythmic spontaneous activity; it consisted of quick contractions which spread rapidly over the entire preparation, each followed by a rapid relaxation and a diastolic pause. 4. With each contraction, the preparation decreased in both length and diameter and generated an outflow pressure which pumped fluid in the direction determined by the orientation of the values. 5. Raising the transmural pressure in the preparation increased the output of the preparation; this was achieved by an increase in both the frequency and force of the individual contractions. 6. It was concluded that bovine lymphatics could propel fluid by their intrinsic activity at a rate which was related to the degree of distension of their walls.

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