A compartmental model for oxygen transport in brain microcirculation

Maithili Sharan, M. D. Jones, R. C. Koehler, R. J. Traystman, A. S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


A compartmental model is formulated for oxygen transport in the cerebrovascular bed of the brain. The model considers the arteriolar, capillary and venular vessels. The vascular bed is represented as a series of compartments on the basis of blood vessel diameter. The formulation takes into account such parameters as hematocrit, vascular diameter, blood viscosity, blood flow, metabolic rate, the nonlinear oxygen dissociation curve, arterial PO2, P50 (oxygen tension at 50% hemoglobin saturation with O2) and carbon monoxide concentration. The countercurrent diffusional exchange between paired arterioles and venules is incorporated into the model. The model predicts significant longitudinal PO2 gradients in the precapillary vessels. However, gradients of hemoglobin saturation with oxygen remain fairly small. The longitudinal PO2 gradients in the postcapillary vessels are found to be very small. The effect of the following variables on tissue PO2 is studied: blood flow, PO2 in the arterial blood, hematocrit, P50, concentration of carbon monoxide, metabolic rate, arterial diameter, and the number of perfused capillaries. The qualitative features of PO2 distrbution in the vascular network are not altered with moderate variation of these parameters. Finally, the various types of hypoxia, namely hypoxic, anemic and carbon monoxide hypoxia, are discussed in light of the above sensitivity analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-38
Number of pages26
JournalAnnals of biomedical engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989


  • Carbon monoxide
  • Cerebral circulation
  • Computer simulation
  • Mathematical model
  • Microcirculation
  • Oxygen transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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