American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology

Diaphragmatic lymphatic vessel behavior during local skeletal muscle contraction.

PMID 25485903


The mechanism through which the stresses developed in the diaphragmatic tissue during skeletal muscle contraction sustain local lymphatic function was studied in 10 deeply anesthetized, tracheotomized adult Wistar rats whose diaphragm was exposed after thoracotomy. To evaluate the direct effect of skeletal muscle contraction on the hydraulic intraluminal lymphatic pressures (Plymph) and lymphatic vessel geometry, the maximal contraction of diaphragmatic fibers adjacent to a lymphatic vessel was elicited by injection of 9.2 nl of 1 M KCl solution among diaphragmatic fibers while Plymph was recorded through micropuncture and vessel geometry via stereomicroscopy video recording. In lymphatics oriented perpendicularly to the longitudinal axis of muscle fibers and located at <300 μm from KCl injection, vessel diameter at maximal skeletal muscle contraction (Dmc) decreased to 61.3 ± 1.4% of the precontraction value [resting diameter (Drest)]; however, if injection was at >900 μm from the vessel, Dmc enlarged to 131.1 ± 2.3% of Drest. In vessels parallel to muscle fibers, Dmc increased to 122.8 ± 2.9% of Drest. During contraction, Plymph decreased as much as 22.5 ± 2.6 cmH2O in all submesothelial superficial vessels, whereas it increased by 10.7 ± 5.1 cmH2O in deeper vessels running perpendicular to contracting muscle fibers. Hence, the three-dimensional arrangement of the diaphragmatic lymphatic network seems to be finalized to efficiently exploit the stresses exerted by muscle fibers during the contracting inspiratory phase to promote lymph formation in superficial submesothelial lymphatics and its further propulsion in deeper intramuscular vessels.