Use of Blue Dextran for measuring changes in perfused vascular surface area in lungs

D. L. Roerig*, C. A. Dawson, S. B. Ahlf, R. D. Bongard, J. H. Linehan, J. P. Kampine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We investigated the uptake and efflux of Blue Dextran in the isolated perfused rabbit lung. Blue Dextran is a high-molecular-weight glucose polymer (original mol wt 2 x 106 g/mol) containing covalently bonded Reactive Blue 2 dye (~0.1 mmol/g dextran). This blue dye is known for its high binding affinity to a wide variety of proteins, with a particularly high affinity for serum albumin. In isolated rabbit lungs perfused with a protein-free perfusate, both bolus injection and recirculation of Blue Dextran revealed a rapid saturable uptake. Once the lungs were loaded with Blue Dextran, efflux of the Blue Dextran accumulated in the lungs could be induced by addition of bovine serum albumin (BSA) to the recirculating perfusate. The amount of BSA- induced efflux of Blue Dextran from the lung was independent of perfusate flow. When the left pulmonary artery was ligated after the lungs had been loaded with Blue Dextran, the dye-induced BSA efflux was only about 50% of normal. Release of the ligature so that both lungs were perfused resulted in efflux of the remaining Blue Dextran. The combination of high airway pressure and low flow also reduced the dye efflux, and the effect was reversed by reducing the airway pressure. With the assumption that the high average molecular weight of Blue Dextran confines this molecule to interaction with proteins on the vascular surface, the results of this study suggest that Blue Dextran uptake and its BSA-induced efflux are proportional to the perfused vascular surface area in the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H728-H733
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 31-3
StatePublished - 1992


  • dye-protein binding
  • indicator dilution
  • rabbit lungs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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