Transport in lymphatic capillaries. I. Macroscopic measurements using residence time distribution theory

We present a novel integrative method for characterizing transport in the lymphatic capillaries in the tail of the anesthetized mouse, which is both sensitive and reproducible for quantifying uptake and flow. Interstitially injected, fluorescently labeled macromolecules were used to visualize and quantify these processes. Residence time distribution (RTD) theory was employed to measure net flow velocity in the lymphatic network as well as to provide a relative measure of lymphatic uptake of macromolecules from the interstitium. The effects of particle size and injection pressure were determined. The uptake rate was found to be independent of particle size in the range of a 6- to 18-nm radius; beyond this size, the interstitial matrix seemed to pose a greater barrier. A comparison of 10 vs. 40 cmH2O injection pressure showed a significant influence on the relative uptake rate but not on the net velocity within the network (3.3 +/- 0.8 vs. 3.8 +/- 1.0 micron/s). This suggested the presence of a systemic driving force for baseline lymph propulsion that is independent of the local pressure gradients driving the uptake. This model can be used to examine various aspects of transport physiology of the initial lymphatics.

Published in:
Am J Physiol, 270, 1 Pt 2, H324-9

 Record created 2008-05-06, last modified 2018-03-17

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