Heterogeneity of red blood cell perfusion in capillary networks supplied by a single arteriole in resting skeletal muscle.
Flow heterogeneity within capillary beds may have two sources: (1) unequal distribution of red blood cell (RBC) supply among arterioles and (2) unique properties of RBC flow in branching networks of capillaries. Our aim was to investigate the capillary network as a source of both spatial and temporal heterogeneity of RBC flow. Five networks, each supplied by a single arteriole, were studied in frog sartorius muscle (one network per frog) by intravital video microscopy. Simultaneous data on RBC velocity (millimeters per second), lineal density (RBCs per millimeter), and supply rate (RBCs per second) were measured continuously (10 samples per second) from video recordings in 5 to 10 capillary segments per network for 10 minutes by use of automated computer analysis. To quantify heterogeneity, mean values from successive 10-second intervals were tabulated for each flow parameter in each capillary segment (ie, portion of capillary between successive bifurcations), and percent coefficient of variation (SD/mean.100%) was calculated for (1) spatial heterogeneity among vessels (CVs) every 10 seconds and for the entire 10-minute sample and (2) temporal heterogeneity within vessels for every capillary segment and for the mean flow parameter. Analysis of these data indicates that (1) capillary networks are a significant source of both spatial and temporal flow heterogeneity, and (2) continuous redistributions of flow occur within networks, resulting in substantial temporal changes in CVs, although a persistent spatial heterogeneity of perfusion still exists on a 10-minute basis. In most networks, CVs decreased as supply rate within the network increased, thus indicating that rheology plays a significant role in determining the perfusion heterogeneity.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association