The effect of carbon dioxide on the diameter of brain capillaries

John L.D. Atkinson, Robert E. Anderson, Thoralf M. Sundt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Cerebral capillaries in cats subjected to variations in carbon dioxide tensions were studied using carbon black perfusion fixation. Five animals each were grouped into hypocapnia, normocapnia, and hypercapnia and 500 cortical, 250 white matter and 250 caudate nucleus capillaries per group were analyzed at 400 × magnification. Capillary diameters were found to change significantly in the cortex (6.1-10.0 μm), white matter (6.5-9.6 μm) and caudate nucleus (6.3-8.8 μm) from hypocapnia to hypercapnia, respectively. These findings suggest that capillary vasomotion occurs and that capillaries are not rigid tubes as previously portrayed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 28 1990


  • Capillary recruitment
  • Capillary vasomotion
  • Carbon black
  • Microcirculation
  • Perfusion fixation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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