Rhythmic changes in blood flow direction have been described in the mucosal plexus of mice with acute colitis. In this report, we studied mice with acute colitis induced either by dextran sodium sulfate or by trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid. Both forms of colitis were associated with blood flow oscillations as documented by fluorescence intravital videomicroscopy. The complex oscillation patterns suggested more than one mechanism for these changes in blood flow. By tracking fluorescent nanoparticles in the inflamed mucosal plexus, we identified two forms of blood flow oscillations within the inflammatory mouse colon. Stable oscillations were associated with a base frequency of approximately 2 cycles/sec. Velocity measurements in the upstream and downstream vessel segments indicated that stable oscillations were the result of regional flow occlusion within the mucosal plexus. In contrast, metastable oscillations demonstrated a lower frequency (0.2-0.4 cycles/sec) and appeared to be the result of flow dynamics in vessels linked by the bridging mucosal vessels. These blood flow oscillations were not directly associated with cardiopulmonary movement. We conclude that both the stable and metasable oscillating patterns reflect flow adaptations to inflammatory changes in the mucosal plexus. Anat Rec, 2009. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.