In vivo measurements of tissue oxygen tension were made at 10-micrometer intervals through functioning in situ rabbit femoral arterial walls, using inhalation anesthesia and recessed microcathodes with approximately 4-micrometer external diameters. External environment was controlled with a superfusion well at 30 torr PO2, 35 torr PCO2. Blood pressure, gas tension levels, and blood pH were held within the normal range. Radial PO2 measurements closely fit a mathematical model for unidimensional diffusion into a thick-walled artery with uniform oxygen consumption, and the distances traversed fit measured dimensions of quick-frozen in vivo sections. Using standard values of diffusion and solubility coefficients, mean calculated medial oxygen consumption was 99 nl0/ml-s. Mural oxygen consumption appeared to be related linearly to mean tangential wall stress. Differences in experimental design and technique were compared with previous in vivo and in vitro measurements of wall oxygenation, and largely account for the varying results obtained. Control of environment external to the artery, and maintenance of normally flowing blood in the lumen in vivo appeared critical to an understanding of mural oxygenation in life. If the conditions of this experiment prevailed in arteries with thicker avascular layers, PO2 could have been 20 torr at approximately 156 micrometer and 10 torr at 168 micrometer from blood (average values).
D W Crawford, L H Back, M A Cole