Experiments to measure the permeability properties of individually perfused microvessels provide a bridge between investigation of molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating vascular permeability in cultured endothelial cell monolayers and the functional exchange properties of whole microvascular beds. A method to cannulate and perfuse venular microvessels of rat mesentery and measure the hydraulic conductivity of the microvessel wall is described. The main equipment needed includes an intravital microscope with a large modified stage that supports micromanipulators to position three different microtools: (1) a beveled glass micropipette to cannulate and perfuse the microvessel; (2) a glass micro-occluder to transiently block perfusion and enable measurement of transvascular water flow movement at a measured hydrostatic pressure, and (3) a blunt glass rod to stabilize the mesenteric tissue at the site of cannulation. The modified Landis micro-occlusion technique uses red cells suspended in the artificial perfusate as markers of transvascular fluid movement, and also enables repeated measurements of these flows as experimental conditions are changed and hydrostatic and colloid osmotic pressure difference across the microvessels are carefully controlled. Measurements of hydraulic conductivity first using a control perfusate, then after re-cannulation of the same microvessel with the test perfusates enable paired comparisons of the microvessel response under these well-controlled conditions. Attempts to extend the method to microvessels in the mesentery of mice with genetic modifications expected to modify vascular permeability were severely limited because of the absence of long straight and unbranched microvessels in the mouse mesentery, but the recent availability of the rats with similar genetic modifications using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology is expected to open new areas of investigation where the methods described herein can be applied.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)