We studied the effects of reducing the plasma protein concentration on flow and composition of pulmonary lymph in 12 unanesthetized sheep. Whole blood was removed while red cells were returned and lactated Ringers was infused at a rate sufficient to maintain pulmonary vascular pressures at baseline values. A 44-54% reduction in plasma protein concentration resulted in a decrease in the plasma oncotic pressure from 18.6 ± 1.1 to 7.8 ± 0.9 mm Hg. Within an hour after plasmapheresis, lymphs flows increased to a maximum of 4 times baseline. Subsequently, lymph flow gradually decreased and were close to baseline at 24 hours. The plasma-to-lymph oncotic gradient was reestablished in 5 hours due to decreased lymph protein. Maintained elevation of lymph flow with hydrostatic and oncotic gradients at baseline values suggest that the blood-to-lymph barrier offers less resistance to fluid transport. The calculated filtration coefficient increased 2- to 3-fold after plasmapheresis. Protein clearances remained normally coupled to lymph flows. Thus the enhanced fluid transport cannot be attributed to a permeability change in the large pore pathways. Hypoproteinemia may alter the interstitial gel so that there is less resistance to fluid movement. Such changes in fluid conductivity between blood capillaries and lymphatics may augment the lymphatic safety factor against pulmonary edema during hypoproteinemia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine