Peripheral lymphatic cannulation for physiological analysis of interstitial fluid compartment in humans

Am J Physiol. 1991 Oct;261(4 Pt 2):H1324-8. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1991.261.4.H1324.


Analysis of peripheral interstitial concentrations of hormones or substrates in humans has undoubtedly been hampered by the difficulty in performing retrograde peripheral lymphatic cannulation and obtaining adequate flow rates of lymph. We now describe a technique for direct continuous sampling of peripheral lymph. A lymphatic vessel was cannulated in the lower legs of 14 males, and lymph was collected for 24-48 h. Adequate quantities of lymph were obtained basally and during physiological manipulations to make collections at 15-min intervals. Flow rates averaged 1.84 ml/h and ranged from 0.34 to 4.96 ml/h. We conclude that peripheral lymphatic vessels can be cannulated and flow rates are sufficient to measure interstitial concentration of hormones or substrates both at steady state and dynamically in adult humans.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Fluid Compartments / physiology*
  • Catheterization* / instrumentation
  • Catheterization* / methods
  • Extracellular Space / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Leg
  • Lymph / physiology
  • Lymphatic System*
  • Male


  • Insulin