Edemagenic gain and interstitial fluid volume regulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Under physiological conditions, interstitial fluid volume is tightly regulated by balancing microvascular filtration and lymphatic return to the central venous circulation. Even though microvascular filtration and lymphatic return are governed by conservation of mass, their interaction can result in exceedingly complex behavior. Without making simplifying assumptions, investigators must solve the fluid balance equations numerically, which limits the generality of the results. We thus made critical simplifying assumptions to develop a simple solution to the standard fluid balance equations that is expressed as an algebraic formula. Using a classical approach to describe systems with negative feedback, we formulated our solution as a "gain" relating the change in interstitial fluid volume to a change in effective microvascular driving pressure. The resulting "edemagenic gain" is a function of microvascular filtration coefficient (K(f)), effective lymphatic resistance (R(L)), and interstitial compliance (C). This formulation suggests two types of gain: "multivariate" dependent on C, R(L), and K(f), and "compliance-dominated" approximately equal to C. The latter forms a basis of a novel method to estimate C without measuring interstitial fluid pressure. Data from ovine experiments illustrate how edemagenic gain is altered with pulmonary edema induced by venous hypertension, histamine, and endotoxin. Reformulation of the classical equations governing fluid balance in terms of edemagenic gain thus yields new insight into the factors affecting an organ's susceptibility to edema.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol

altmetric score

  • 12.608

author list (cited authors)

  • Dongaonkar, R. M., Quick, C. M., Stewart, R. H., Drake, R. E., Cox, C. S., & Laine, G. A.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Dongaonkar, RM||Quick, CM||Stewart, RH||Drake, RE||Cox, CS||Laine, GA

publication date

  • February 2008