Effects of Intermittent Capillary flow on Oxygen Transport in Skeletal Muscle Studied by Dynamic Computer Simulation

  • Masakazu Fukuoka
  • Masahiro Shibata
  • Akira Kamiya
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 191)


Intravital observations of the microcirculation in various skeletal muscles have revealed that the red cell velocity in the capillaries at the resting state is neither steady nor uniform. It often fluctuates rhythmically so that capillaries alternate in their extent of opening periodically (Cardon et al., 1970; Prewitt and Johnson, 1976; Lindbom et al., 1980). Fig. 1 shows an example of red cell velocity changes measured at a capillary in the rabbit tenuissimus muscle suffused with oxygenated Tyrode solution (Shibata et al., 1983). Under physiological conditions of the ambient oxygen tension (PO2, 30–50 mmHg) and pH (7.3–7.4), the frequency of cyclic velocity changes was in the range of 0.05 – 0.2 Hz which was slower than the respiration rate of the animal. Although the mechanism inducing such periodic velocity changes is not completely clear, it is obvious that this phenomenon directly affects the gaseous transport and other nutrient supply to the tissue. For instance, tissue PO2 in the skeletal muscle has been reported to fluctuate with a similar frequency (Whalen and Nair, 1967). Nevertheless, the physiological significance of this phenomenon in transcapillary substance exchange has not been well investigated yet.

Fig. 1

Capillary red cell velocity measured in the rabbit tenuissimus muscle. Note the periodic changes in red cell velocities of 0.05-0.1 Hz which is much slower than the breathing rate as observed from the respiratory fluctuations of the arterial pressure simultaneously measured.


Steady State Model Intermittent Flow Tissue Space Intercapillary Distance Perfuse Capillary Density 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masakazu Fukuoka
    • 1
  • Masahiro Shibata
    • 2
  • Akira Kamiya
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of PhysiologyKyorin UniversityMitaka-shi, 182 TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Research Inst. of Applied ElectricityHokkaido Univ.Mitaka-shi, 182 TokyoJapan

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