Comparative aspects of the strength of pulmonary capillaries in rabbit, dog, and horse

Respiration Physiology
E K BirksJ B West


In previous studies of rabbit and dog lung, we demonstrated stress failure of pulmonary capillaries at high transmural pressures (Ptm). The Ptm necessary to elicit stress failure was 40 cmH2O higher in dog than rabbit, and the total blood-gas barrier (BGB) thickness was greater in dog than rabbit. This suggests that stress failure may be related to BGB thickness, and is consistent with the Laplace relationship which states that wall stress is proportional to capillary radius but inversely proportional to wall thickness. In the present studies, we compared BGB thickness and an index of capillary radius in lungs from 3 rabbits, 3 dogs, and 2 horses perfusion fixed at a Ptm of approximately 30 cmH2O. Thicknesses of the BGB were measured at right angles to the barrier at random points on the capillary wall determined by test line intersections. Capillary radius was determined from the mean of major and minor axes measured on electron micrographs. Capillary pressure for failure in the horse was taken to be the mean of pulmonary arterial and left atrial pressures observed in galloping thoroughbreds known to develop exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, although the actual pressure required for failure may be less than this. Average ...Continue Reading


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