The mass transfer coefficient for oxygen transport from blood to tissue in cerebral cortex

Timothy W. Secomb, Katherine V. Bullock, David A. Boas, Sava Sakadžić

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The functioning of cerebral cortex depends on adequate tissue oxygenation. MRI-based techniques allow estimation of blood oxygen levels, tissue perfusion, and oxygen consumption rate (CMRO2), but do not directly measure partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) in tissue. To address the estimation of tissue PO2, the oxygen mass transfer coefficient (KTO2) is here defined as the CMRO2 divided by the difference in spatially averaged PO2 between blood and tissue, and is estimated by analyzing Krogh-cylinder type models. Resistance to radial diffusion of oxygen from microvessels to tissue is distributed within vessels and in the extravascular tissue. The value of KTO2 is shown to depend strongly on vascular length density and also on microvessel tube hematocrits and diameters, but to be insensitive to blood flow rate and to transient changes in flow or oxygen consumption. Estimated values of KTO2 are higher than implied by previous studies, implying smaller declines in PO2 from blood to tissue. Average tissue PO2 can be estimated from MRI-based measurements as average blood PO2 minus the product of KTO2 and CMRO2. For oxygen consumption rates and vascular densities typical of mouse cortex, the predicted difference between average blood and tissue PO2 is about 10 mmHg.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1634-1646
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Capillary density
  • hematocrit
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • oxygen transport
  • theoretical models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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