Hakkinen, J. P., M. W. Miller, A. H. Smith and D. R. Knight. Measurement of organ blood flow with coloured microspheres in the rat. Cardiovasc Res. 29:74-9, 1995.

OBJECTIVE: The aim was to establish a method for measuring organ blood flow in rats using commercially available, coloured, dye extraction microspheres. METHODS: A mixture of radiolabelled and dye extraction microspheres was infused into rats at rest (basal) and during intravenous administration of either angiotensin II (0.5 microgram.kg-1.min-1) or isoprenaline [12.5 ng.(g0.74)-1.min-1]. Tissues were removed and placed in test tubes, counted for radioactivity, then digested with 2N sodium hydroxide. Within the same tube, microspheres were isolated using centrifugation and the dye was extracted with dimethylformamide. The dye was quantified by spectrophotometry. RESULTS: Recovery of microspheres averaged greater than 95% for all tissues studied; larger reagent volumes were required to achieve this level of recovery from white adipose tissue. Statistical analyses showed excellent correlations between blood flow values obtained by the dye extraction and radiolabelled microsphere techniques. Blood flow values obtained with the radioactive technique tended to be slightly higher. There were no differences in the results obtained with the two techniques when they were simultaneously used to measure changes in organ blood flow induced by angiotensin II or isoprenaline. CONCLUSIONS: The coloured, dye extraction microsphere technique accurately measured organ blood flow in rats. This technique is potentially useful for estimating blood flow in any animal, even if tissue sample size is limited.