Anetzberger, H., E. Thein, M. Becker, B. Zwissler and K. Messmer. Microspheres accurately predict regional bone blood flow. Clin Orthop. 253-65, 2004.

Even though the microsphere method frequently is used to determinate bone blood flow, validation of this technique for bone blood flow measurement is incomplete. The method is based on the principle that injected microspheres are distributed with the arterial blood and trapped in the capillaries because of their diameter (15 microm). The number of spheres lodged in an organ is proportional to its blood flow. The number of radioactive or fluorescent microspheres in a specific organ is determined indirectly by measuring radioactivity or fluorescence intensity in the organ. In this study the reliability and precision of the microsphere method for determining bone blood flow was established using radioactive and fluorescent microspheres. Six female, anesthetized New Zealand rabbits received left ventricular injections of pairs of fluorescent and/or radioactive microspheres. The humerus, femur, and tibia were dissected in a standardized manner and blood flow was determined in each sample. Comparison of relative blood flow values showed an excellent correlation between radioactive and fluorescent microspheres. The percentage difference and variation between two simultaneously injected sets of microspheres was minimal for radioactive microspheres (0.8% +/- 9.6%) and for fluorescent microspheres (0.2% +/- 11.4%). Regional bone blood flow in different regions of the femur, tibia, or humerus ranged from 2.2-28.1 mL/minute/100 g, but there was no significant difference between right and left bone samples of the same region after repeated measurement. Radioactive and fluorescent microspheres allow precise determination of regional bone blood flow.