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A new method to study changes in microvascular blood volume in muscle and adipose tissue: real-time imaging in humans and rat

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 10:15 authored by Sjoberg, KA, Stephen RattiganStephen Rattigan, Hiscock, N, Richter, EA, Kiens, B
We employed and evaluated a new application of contrast-enhanced ultrasound for real-time imaging of changes in microvascular blood volume (MBV) in tissues in females, males, and rat. Continuous real-time imaging was performed using contrast-enhanced ultrasound to quantify infused gas-filled microbubbles in the microcirculation. It was necessary to infuse microbubbles for a minimum of 5-7 min to obtain steady-state bubble concentration, a prerequisite for making comparisons between different physiological states. Insulin clamped at a submaximal concentration (~75 uU/ml) increased MBV by 27 and 39% in females and males, respectively, and by 30% in female subcutaneous adipose tissue. There was no difference in the ability of insulin to increase muscle MBV in females and males, and microvascular perfusion rate was not increased significantly by insulin. However, perfusion rate of the microvascular space was higher in females compared with males. In rats, insulin clamped at a maximal concentration increased muscle MBV by 60%. Large increases in microvascular volume and perfusion rate were detected during electrical stimulation of muscle in rats and immediately after exercise in humans. We have demonstrated that real-time imaging of changes in MBV is possible in human and rat muscle and in subcutaneous adipose tissue and that the method is sensitive enough to pick up relatively small changes in MBV when performed with due consideration of steady-state microbubble concentration. Because of realtime imaging, the method has wide applications for determining MBV in different organs during various physiological or pathophysiological conditions.


Publication title

American Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology








Menzies Institute for Medical Research


Amer Physiological Soc

Place of publication

9650 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, USA, Md, 20814

Rights statement

Copyright 2011 American Physiological Society.

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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