A diffusion wake model for tracer ultrastructure-permeability studies in microvessels

B. M. Fu, F. E. Curry, S. Weinbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


We developed a time-dependent diffusion model for analyzing the concentration profiles of low-molecular-weight tracers in the interendothelial clefts of the capillary wall that takes into account the three-dimensional time-dependent filling of the surrounding tissue space. The model provides a connecting link between two methods to investigate transvascular exchange: electron-microscopic experiments to study the time- dependent wake formed by low-molecular-weight tracers (such as lanthanum nitrate) on the tissue side of the junction strand discontinuities in the interendothelial cleft of frog mesentery capillaries (R. H. Adamson and C. C. Michel. J. Physiol. Lond. 466: 303-327, 1993) and confocal-microscopic experiments to measure the spread of low-molecular-weight fluorescent tracers in the tissue space surrounding these microvessels (R. H. Adamson, J. F. Lenz, and F. E. Curry. Microcirculation 1: 251-265, 1994). We show that the interpretation of the presence of tracer as an all-or-none indication of a pathway across the junctional strand is likely to be incorrect for small solutes. Large-pore pathways, in which the local tracer flux densities are high, reach a threshold concentration for detection and are likely to be detected after relatively short perfusion times, whereas distributed small- pore pathways may not be detected until the tissue concentrations surrounding the entire vessel approach threshold concentrations. The analysis using this approach supports the hypothesis advanced by Fu et al. (J. Biomech. Eng. 116: 502-513, 1994) that the principal pathways for water and solutes of <1.0 nm diameter across the interendothelial cleft may be different and suggests new experiments to test this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 38-6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • capillary junction-pore-matrix model
  • interendothelial cleft
  • model for capillary confocal microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'A diffusion wake model for tracer ultrastructure-permeability studies in microvessels'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this