Lung inflation and alveolar permeability to non-electrolytes in the adult sheep in vivo

The Journal of Physiology
E A EganR E Olver


1. Experiments were performed on adult sheep to determine the effect of lung distension on the passive permeability of alveoli to water soluble non-electrolytes. With the animal breathing oxygen spontaneously, a segment of one lung was isolated by passing a balloon-tipped catheter through a tracheostomy into a distal bronchus. This isolated atelectatic segment was filled with an isosomotic saline solution containing radio-labelled solutes of known molecular size: [125I]albumin, [14C]inulin, [14C]-sucrose, [3H]mannitol, and [14C]urea. The segment was inflated with oxygen either to a preselected pressure, or to a predetermined fraction of its capacity. Inflation was then maintained for several 10-15 min periods between which the oxygen supply was disconnected and the saline sampled, allowing the tracer concentrations to be measured. 2. At low inflating pressures (20-32 cmH2O) and at low volumes (24-54% of capacity), alveolar permeability to water soluble solutes was slight and could be characterized in terms of a membrane penetrated by cylindrical water filled pores of 0-5-1-6 nm radius. In all experiments showing restricted diffusion, absorption of saline occurred. 3. There was a positive correlation between the degree of lung i...Continue Reading


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