A 1-D model to explore the effects of tissue loading and tissue concentration gradients in the revised Starling principle

Xiaobing Zhang, Roger H. Adamson, Fitz Roy E Curry, Sheldon Weinbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The recent experiments in Hu et al. (Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 279: H1724-H1736, 2000) and Adamson et al. (J Physiol 557: 889-907, 2004) in frog and rat mesentery microvessels have provided strong evidence supporting the Michel-Weinbaum hypothesis for a revised asymmetric Starling principle in which the Starling force balance is applied locally across the endothelial glycocalyx layer rather than between lumen and tissue. These experiments were interpreted by a three-dimensional (3-D) mathematical model (Hu et al.; Microvasc Res 58: 281-304, 1999) to describe the coupled water and albumin fluxes in the glycocalyx layer, the cleft with its tight junction strand, and the surrounding tissue. This numerical 3-D model converges if the tissue is at uniform concentration or has significant tissue gradients due to tissue loading. However, for most physiological conditions, tissue gradients are two to three orders of magnitude smaller than the albumin gradients in the cleft, and the numerical model does not converge. A simpler multilayer one-dimensional (1-D) analytical model has been developed to describe these conditions. This model is used to extend Michel and Phillips's original 1-D analysis of the matrix layer (J Physiol 388: 421-435, 1987) to include a cleft with a tight junction strand, to explain the observation of Levick (Exp Physiol 76: 825-857, 1991) that most tissues have an equilibrium tissue concentration that is close to 0.4 lumen concentration, and to explore the role of vesicular transport in achieving this equilibrium. The model predicts the surprising finding that one can have steady-state reabsorption at low pressures, in contrast to the experiments in Michel and Phillips, if a backward-standing gradient is established in the cleft that prevents the concentration from rising behind the glycocalyx.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006


  • Capillary permeability
  • Endothelial glycocalyx
  • Tight junction
  • Vesicular transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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