Regulation of perfused capillary density in canine intestinal mucosa during endotoxemia

R. Drazenovic, R. W. Samsel, M. E. Wylam, C. M. Doerschuk, P. T. Schumacker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


When O2 delivery (blood flow x arterial O2 content) is reduced, many tissues respond by increasing perfused capillary density. This facilitates the increase in O2 extraction required to maintain tissue O2 consumption in the face of limited O2 supply. In a previous study of isolated canine small intestine (J. Appl. Physiol. 64: 2410-2419, 1988), endotoxin administration was associated with an impaired ability to increase O2 extraction in response to progressive reductions in O2 delivery. The aim of the present study was to determine whether reductions in perfused capillary density occur after endotoxin administration. Fourteen male dogs were anesthetized with chloralose (150 mg/kg iv) and urethan (750 mg/kg iv), and a segment of small intestine was exteriorized through a midline laparotomy. The segment was isolated vascularly, autoperfused, and maintained at body temperature. Escherichia coli endotoxin (5 mg/kg) or sham challenge was administered, and the animals were allowed to stabilize. Blood flow and arterial and gut venous blood O2 contents were measured after 3 h. Perfused vessels were then labeled by injecting colloidal carbon (<0.8 μm) through the arterial cannula and clamping the artery and vein as the bolus passed through the tissue. In some of the experiments a second gut segment was successfully obtained within 1 h of the first, yielding a total of 14 gut segments in nine endotoxin animals and nine segments in five control animals. Morphological analysis of capillary surface density in mucosal villi and crypts showed a significantly higher perfused capillary density in control tissue blocks (77.8 ± 9.2%) than in blocks from endotoxin-treated animals (68.8 ± 8.0%, P < 0.04). Regression analyses yielded highly significant relationships between perfused capillary density and indexes of tissue O2 delivery in control segments but no significant relationships among endotoxin-treated segments. These results suggest that gut adjustments in perfused capillary density in response to changes in O2 delivery are impaired after endotoxin administration. This may contribute to an impaired O2 extraction ability in endotoxemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992


  • microcirculation
  • oxygen consumption
  • oxygen delivery
  • sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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