This study investigated whether red cells with reduced deformability impeded flow through the microcirculation. Red cells were made less deformable in their normal biconcave disc shape by incubation with 2% formaldehyde (fRBCs). The blood supply to the right hind limb was isolated in 26 swine and the femoral artery was instrumented with two fine catheters, a flow probe, and an inflatable occluder. Flow was measured over a range of different perfusion pressures during adenosine-induced vasodilation under control conditions (C) and during an infusion of fRBCs at 1 ml/kg per minute (not to exceed 20 ml) into the femoral artery. At the same perfusion pressure (P), flow was significantly reduced 5 min after the fRBC infusion: Flow at P = 20 mm Hg, C = 41 ml/min vs fRBC = 10 ml/min; at P = 40, C = 160 ml/min vs fRBC = 79 ml/min; and at P = 60, C = 278 ml/min vs fRBC = 147 ml/min, with P < 0.02 for all comparisons. Flow was still significantly reduced 15 min after the fRBCs, but by 30 min, it had returned to the control value. Chromium-51-labeling of red cells revealed that about one-third of fRBCs was trapped in the microcirculation compared to less than 3% of normal cells. This reduction in flow with fRBC infusion was not altered by α blockade, indicating that adrenergically mediated spasm was not responsible for the reduced flow. Aspirin 35 mg/kg iv completely prevented the reduction in flow despite an absence of change in the percentage of fRBCs trapped. Thus, red cells with reduced deformability infused into the circulation caused a significant, but transient, reduction in flow. The reduction in flow was not primarily related to entrapment of the abnormal RBCs, but may be mediated through platelet aggregation or release of potent vasoconstrictor substances from platelets or endothelial cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cell Biology