Effects of Type II diabetes on capillary hemodynamics in skeletal muscle

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Nov;291(5):H2439-44. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00290.2006. Epub 2006 Jul 14.


Microcirculatory red blood cell (RBC) hemodynamics are impaired within skeletal muscle of Type I diabetic rats (Kindig CA, Sexton WL, Fedde MR, and Poole DC. Respir Physiol 111: 163-175, 1998). Whether muscle microcirculatory dysfunction occurs in Type II diabetes, the more prevalent form of the disease, is unknown. We hypothesized that Type II diabetes would reduce the proportion of capillaries supporting continuous RBC flow and RBC hemodynamics within the spinotrapezius muscle of the Goto-Kakizaki Type II diabetic rat (GK). With the use of intravital microscopy, muscle capillary diameter (d(c)), capillary lineal density, capillary tube hematocrit (Hct(cap)), RBC flux (F(RBC)), and velocity (V(RBC)) were measured in healthy male Wistar (control: n = 5, blood glucose, 105 +/- 5 mg/dl) and male GK (n = 7, blood glucose, 263 +/- 34 mg/dl) rats under resting conditions. Mean arterial pressure did not differ between groups (P > 0.05). Sarcomere length was set to a physiological length ( approximately 2.7 mum) to ensure that muscle stretching did not alter capillary hemodynamics; d(c) was not different between control and GK rats (P > 0.05), but the percentage of RBC-perfused capillaries (control: 93 +/- 3; GK: 66 +/- 5 %), Hct(cap), V(RBC), F(RBC), and O(2) delivery per unit of muscle were all decreased in GK rats (P < 0.05). This study indicates that Type II diabetes reduces both convective O(2) delivery and diffusive O(2) transport properties within muscle microcirculation. If these microcirculatory deficits are present during exercise, it may provide a basis for the reduced O(2) exchange characteristic of Type II diabetic patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure
  • Capillaries / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythrocytes / physiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Hematocrit
  • Male
  • Microcirculation
  • Muscle, Skeletal / blood supply*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Regional Blood Flow


  • Blood Glucose
  • Oxygen