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      Study of Temporal and Perfusion Physiology of Skin Capillaries in the Dorsum of the Foot


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      Journal of Vascular Research

      S. Karger AG

      Capillaries, Perfusion, In vivo microscopy

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          The aim of this study was twofold: firstly, to study the nature of any temporal variation in capillary numbers, and secondly to determine the proportion of perfused to total nutritional capillaries in normal skin. Using in vivo microscopy, the temporal behaviour of the number of visible capillaries in the skin of the dorsum of foot was observed over periods of time varying from 5 min to 55 days in 15 healthy subjects. Capillary perfusion was then studied by comparing capillary numbers before and after intravenous injection of sodium fluorescein. The mean percent difference in the number of visible capillaries over a mean period of 25.3 days was 5.5%. The percentage ratio of perfused to total capillaries was 54.2%. This study shows that there is little quantitative change in capillary numbers over periods of up to 50 days, and that under physiological conditions, about half of the nutritional capillaries of skin are not perfused.

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          Alterations in perfused capillary morphometry in awake vs anesthetized brain.

          This study quantitatively compared various indices of perfused capillary morphometry in pentobarbital-anesthetized and awake rat brains. We hypothesized that barbiturate anesthesia would reduce intraregional differences in percent perfused capillary volume and surface area. A high-molecular-weight FITC-labeled Dextran was injected intravenously into awake or barbiturate-anesthetized (50 mg/kg i.p.) rats. After 20 s, the animal was decapitated and the head frozen in liquid N2. Nine brain regions were isolated and mounted in a microtome cryostat. Sections, 2 microns thick, were photographed with a fluorescent microscope to detect the perfused capillaries. The sections were stained for alkaline phosphatase to visualize the total capillary network. Standard morphometric techniques were employed to determine the total and perfused volume (Vv), surface area (Sv) per mm3 and diameter (D) from the photographs. There were no significant differences in any index of total capillary morphometry among the regions in the anesthetized brain. Approximately half of the average total capillary bed was perfused and there were no significant differences in percent perfused Vv or Sv between awake and anesthetized brains. There were significant differences among the various brain regions in the perfused capillary bed of the awake rat. The percent perfused capillary Vv and Sv in the awake rat was significantly greater in the thalamus and anterior cortex than in other brain regions. In awake rats, the percent perfused capillary Vv ranged from 67.9 +/- 4.7% (mean +/- S.E.M.) in the thalamus to 26.1 +/- 4.3% in the posterior cortex. Thus, while the average percent perfused indices of capillary morphometry were not altered by anesthesia, regional differences in these indices among the examined regions were abolished with anesthesia.

            Author and article information

            J Vasc Res
            Journal of Vascular Research
            S. Karger AG
            February 2001
            08 February 2001
            : 38
            : 1
            : 59-63
            Departments of aSurgery and bDermatology, St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London, UK
            51030 J Vasc Res 2001;38:59–63
            © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

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            Page count
            Tables: 3, References: 20, Pages: 5
            Research Paper


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