To study the relationship between lung weight and lymph flow, we used an in situ, isolated sheep lung preparation that allowed these two variables to be measured simultaneously. All lungs were perfused for 4.5 h at a constant rate of 100 ml·min-1·kg-1. In control lungs, the left atrial pressure (Pla) was kept at atmospheric pressure. In experimental lungs, Pla was kept atmospheric except for a 50-min elevation to 18 mmHg midway through the perfusion. During this period of left atrial hypertension, pulmonary arterial pressure rose from 18 to 31 mmHg, lymph flow rose from 3 to 12 ml/h, and the lymph-to-plasma oncotic pressure ratio (π(L)/π(P)) fell from 0.7 to 0.48. After left atrial pressure was returned to control, pulmonary arterial pressure, lymph flow, and π(L)/π(P) all returned to control levels. The rate of weight gain after the return of left atrial pressure to control was also the same as that in the control group. However, during the period of left atrial hypertension 135 ml of fluid were filtered into the lung, and this large increase in lung weight remained after the pressure was lowered. The presence of this substantial excess lung water despite control values for vascular pressures, lymph flow, rate of weight gain, and π(L)/π(P) suggests that the absolute amount of lung water has little influence on the dynamic aspects of lung fluid balance. These results are consistent with a two-compartment model of the interstitial space, where only one of the compartments is readily drained by the lymphatics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)