Nonlinear regulation of capillary perfusion in relation to ambient pO2 changes in skeletal muscle

Masahiro Shibata, Shigeru Ichioka, Joji Ando, Tatsuo Togawa, Akira Kamiya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


To study the process of O2 transport to tissue, we investigated how capillary perfusion is controlled in response to changes in tissue O2 levels in skeletal muscle. Capillary red blood cell (RBC) velocity and perfused capillary recruitment were measured in rabbit tenuissimus muscle at various ambient oxygen tensions (pO2) by intravital microscopy. Both RBC velocity and capillary recruitment significantly decreased as the pO2 level of the suffusate was increased, and the relationship between capillary perfusion, calculated from the velocity and recruitment data, and the pO2 level of the suffusate clearly yielded a nonlinear correlation that fitted a sigmoidal curve. Capillary perfusion dramatically decreases or increases above or below a suffusate pO2 level of around 40 Torr, where the O2 dissociation curve of hemoglobin changes slope. These findings support the hypothesis that microvasculature possesses an intrinsic, effective flow-control mechanism by sensing the metabolic demands of tissue, intimately related to the O2 saturation of hemoglobin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-355
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jun


  • Capillary RBC velocity
  • Capillary recruitment
  • Hemoglobin dissociation curve
  • Oxygen transport
  • Rabbit skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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