Effect of hemodilution on RBC velocity, supply rate, and hematocrit in the cerebral capillary network

Antal G. Hudetz, James D. Wood, Bharat B. Biswal, Ines Krolo, John P. Kampine

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The effect of isovolemic hemodilution on the circulation of red blood cells (RBCs) in the cerebrocortical capillary network was studied by intravital videomicroscopy with use of a closed-cranial-window technique in the rat. Velocity and supply rate of RBCs were measured by tracking the movement and counting the number of fluorescently labeled cells. Arterial blood was withdrawn in increments of 2 ml and replaced by serum albumin. Arterial blood pressure was maintained constant with an infusion of methoxamine. Both velocity and supply rate of RBCs increased, by approximately equal amounts, as arterial hematocrit was reduced from 44 to 15%. The maximum increase in RBC velocity was 4.6 and in RBC supply rate was 5.2 times the baseline value. Calculated lineal density of RBC, an index of capillary hematocrit, did not change with hemodilution. The results suggest that RBC flow and oxygen supply in the cerebral capillary network are maintained during isovolemic hemodilution. The 'optimal hematocrit' is as low as 15%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-509
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


  • Anemia
  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Microcirculation
  • Oxygen transport
  • Plasma skimming
  • Red blood cell


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