The sciatic nerve of the frog was perfused in vivo with isotonic Ringer solution followed by Ringer made hypertonic by addition of sucrose or of NaCl. Nerve diameter and endoneurial hydrostatic pressure fell during hypertonic Ringer perfusion. Using a model that describes the elastic and osmotic properties of the nerve, sigma sLp, the product of the osmotic reflection coefficient at endoneurial capillaries for s equals sucrose or NaCl (which approximates 1), and of capillary hydraulic conductivity, was found to equal 73 X 10(-13) cm3 X s-1 X dyn-1. The nerve is elastic. It has a compliance K of 3.7 X 10(-5) cm2 X mmHg-1, corresponding to a modulus of elasticity E of the perineurium equal to 1.2 X 10(6) dyn X cm-2. The results indicate that the nerve behaves as an osmometer during vascular perfusion, due to the low permeability of endoneurial capillaries to small solutes such as NaCl and sucrose. A low capillary hydraulic conductivity limits bulk water flow between blood and nerve, and a low compliance limits nerve swelling and edema.
- Copyright © 1987 the American Physiological Society