(1) Angiogenesis (growth of new capillaries from an existing capillary bed) may result from a mismatch in microvascular supply and metabolic demand (metabolic error signal). Krogh examined the distribution and number of capillaries to explore the correlation between O(2) delivery and O(2) consumption. Subsequently, the heterogeneity in angiogenic response within a muscle has been shown to reflect either differences in fibre type composition or mechanical load. However, local control leads to targetted angiogenesis in the vicinity of glycolytic fibre types following muscle stimulation, or oxidative fibres following endurance training, while heterogeneity of capillary spacing is maintained during ontogenetic growth. (2) Despite limited microscopy resolution and lack of specific markers, Krogh's interest in the structure of the capillary wall paved the way for understanding the mechanisms of capillary growth. Angiogenesis may be influenced by the response of perivascular or stromal cells (fibroblasts, macrophages and pericytes) to altered activity, likely acting as a source for chemical signals modulating capillary growth such as vascular endothelial growth factor. In addition, haemodynamic factors such as shear stress and muscle stretch play a significant role in adaptive remodelling of the microcirculation. (3) Most indices of capillarity are highly dependent on fibre size, resulting in possible bias because of scaling. To examine the consequences of capillary distribution, it is therefore helpful to quantify the area of tissue supplied by individual capillaries. This allows the spatial limitations inherent in most models of tissue oxygenation to be overcome generating an alternative approach to Krogh's tissue cylinder, the capillary domain, to improve descriptions of intracellular oxygen diffusion.
© 2010 The Author. Acta Physiologica © 2010 Scandinavian Physiological Society.