Distinct roles of red-blood-cell-derived and wall-derived mechanisms in metabolic regulation of blood flow

Brendan C. Fry, Timothy W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: A theoretical model is used to analyze combinations of RBC-derived and wall-derived (RBC-independent) mechanisms for metabolic blood flow regulation, with regard to their oxygen transport properties. Methods: Heterogeneous microvascular network structures are derived from observations in rat mesentery and hamster cremaster. The effectiveness of metabolic blood flow regulation using combinations of RBC-dependent and RBC-independent mechanisms is simulated in these networks under conditions of reduced oxygen delivery and increased oxygen demand. Results: Metabolic regulation by a wall-derived mechanism results in higher predicted total blood flow rate and number of flowing vessels, and lower tissue hypoxic fraction, than regulation by combinations of RBC-derived and wall-derived signals. However, a combination of RBC-derived and wall-derived signals results in a higher predicted median tissue PO2 than either mechanism acting alone. Conclusions: Model results suggest complementary roles for RBC-derived and wall-derived mechanisms of metabolic flow regulation, with the wall-derived mechanism responsible for avoiding hypoxia, and the RBC-derived mechanism responsible for maintaining PO2 levels high enough for optimal tissue function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12690
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • hematocrit
  • hemodilution
  • microvascular networks
  • oxygen transport
  • theoretical model
  • vascular tone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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