The Kinetics of Distribution of the Fat-Soluble Inert Gas Cyclopropane in the Body

W. Perl, G. T. Lesser, J. M. Steele

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A kinetic analysis is made of the experimentally measured time course of respiratory uptake of the highly fat-soluble, inert gas cyclopropane by normal human subjects. The analysis is based on the well-known perfusion-limited model in which a number of body compartments are arranged in parallel with the lungs via the circulating blood. Three distinct body compartments are derived from the data. These are tentatively identified as: (a) adipose tissue (b) fat-poor tissue of low perfusion such as resting muscle, skin, and connective tissue (c) fat-poor tissue of high perfusion such as brain, heart, gut, liver, and kidney. Blood flow rates to the several compartments are also derived from the data. The rates to compartments (a) and (b) are each approximately 10 per cent of the estimated total cardiac output. The derived perfusion (blood flow rate/compartment weight) of the three compartments are in the range, respectively, (a) 2 to 4, (b) 1 to 2.5, (c) 25 to 75 ml/min/100 gm. Uncertainties arising from the experimental data and from simplifications of the model (neglect of lung fill-up phase of uptake and gross diffusion of cyclopropane from one tissue into another) are discussed. The present type of uptake experiment is significant for the problems of total body fat determination, of gross body composition in relation to weight change, of gross shunting of blood flow from one compartment to another, of anesthesia by fat-soluble substances, and of decompression sickness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-135
Number of pages25
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1960
Externally publishedYes


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