Pressure regulation in the microcirculation

R. W. Gore, H. G. Bohlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


The results of direct pressure measurements are described which demonstrate that pressures in a certain fraction of mesenteric capillaries remain remarkably constant during large changes in systemic pressure. The results of isogravimetric studies, reported in the literature, are also described which indicate that this phenomenon may also occur in the intestine. The question is raised whether capillary pressures may therefore be regulated. Pressures recorded from mesenteric arterioles and capillaries are shown which indicate that maintenance of a constant capillary pressure is primarily the consequence of the vascular architecture peculiar to this tissue, and is merely a secondary reflection of mechanisms associated with flow regulation. The results of direct pressure measurements recorded in the microcirculation of intestinal muscle are also shown. These data indicate that capillary pressures in innervated, denervated, and xylocaine treated intestinal muscle change in direct proportion to variations in arterial pressure. It is concluded that capillary pressures in the intestinal muscle layers are therefore not regulated, so that the observation that capillary pressures may be maintained is probably a phenomenon unique to the mesentery. Pressures recorded from capillaries in the mucosal villi are also shown and compared to capillary pressures measured in the microvasculature of mesentery and intestinal muscle. When systemic pressure was normal (107±10 mm Hg), capillary pressure in the mesentery averaged 30 to 33 mm Hg; capillary pressures in the intestinal muscle averaged 22 to 24 mm Hg; and capillary pressures in the mucosal villi averaged 13 to 15 mm Hg. These data suggest that mesenteric capillaries are primarily a filtering network; intestinal muscle capillaries are normally in fluid balance; whereas at rest mucosal capillaries are primarily absorptive. These pressures, recorded from the three major regions of the rat intestine, were used to calculate a weighted average for the whole organ. The calculated value, based on assumed values for relative capillary densities, was 17 mm Hg. This result compares favorably with data from whole organ, isogravimetric studies, and may clarify some of the apparent discrepancies between previous isogravimetric and servopressure studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2031-2037
Number of pages7
JournalFederation Proceedings
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1975
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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