Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 388, Issue 1, pp 75–78 | Cite as

Effect of reduced red cell “deformability” on flow velocity in capillaries of rat mesentery

  • G. K. Driessen
  • C. W. M. Haest
  • H. Heidtmann
  • D. Kamp
  • H. Schmid-Schönbein
Heart, Circulation, Respiration and Blood; Environmental and Exercise Physiology


A graded reduction of “deformability” of red blood cells (RBC's) of rats was obtained by treatment with the SH-oxidizing agent, diamide. Rigidified RBC's were injected into rats by isovolemic exchange against 60% of the native RBC's and RBC flow velocities in capillaries of rat mesentery measured.

At normal mean arterial pressure RBC flow velocity decreases by 29% in rats receiving cells rigidified with 0.5 mmol·l−1 diamide. Surprisingly a further rigidification of erythrocytes by 1.5 mmol·l−1 diamide results in a decrease of flow by only 15%. During hypotension RBC flow velocities dropped precipitously to 8±15% for the 0.5 nmol·l−1 and to 2±6% for the 1.5 mmol·l−1 diamide group compared to velocities during normotension. By microscopy we observed a stop of flow in many vessels.

This result outlines the importance of a normal red cell “deformability” for the maintenance of sufficient perfusion of the microcirculation, in particular at low blood pressure gradients.

Key words

Red cell deformability Capillaries Rat mesentery Hypotension Flow resistance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. K. Driessen
    • 1
  • C. W. M. Haest
    • 1
  • H. Heidtmann
    • 1
  • D. Kamp
    • 1
  • H. Schmid-Schönbein
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung PhysiologieRWTH AachenAachenFederal Republic of Germany

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