Analysis of the critical determinants of renal medullary oxygenation

Chang Joon Lee, Bruce S. Gardiner, Roger G. Evans, David W. Smith

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We have previously developed a three-dimensional computational model of oxygen transport in the renal medulla. In the present study, we used this model to quantify the sensitivity of renal medullary oxygenation to four of its major known determinants: medullary blood flow (MBF), medullary oxygen consumption rate (V̇o2,M), hemoglobin (Hb) concentration in the blood, and renal perfusion pressure. We also examined medullary oxygenation under special conditions of hydropenia, extracellular fluid volume expansion by infusion of isotonic saline, and hemodilution during cardiopulmonary bypass. Under baseline (normal) conditions, the average medullary tissue Po2 predicted for the whole renal medulla was ~30 mmHg. The periphery of the interbundle region in the outer medulla was identified as the most hypoxic region in the renal medulla, which demonstrates that the model prediction is qualitatively accurate. Medullary oxygenation was most sensitive to changes in renal perfusion pressure followed by Hb, MBF, and V̇o2,M, in that order. The medullary oxygenation also became sensitized by prohypoxic changes in other parameters, leading to a greater fall in medullary tissue Po2 when multiple parameters changed simultaneously. Hydropenia did not induce a significant change in medullary oxygenation compared with the baseline state, while volume expansion resulted in a large increase in inner medulla tissue Po2 (by ~15 mmHg). Under conditions of cardiopulmonary bypass, the renal medulla became severely hypoxic, due to hemodilution, with one-third of the outer stripe of outer medulla tissue having a Po2 of <5 mmHg.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F1483-F1502
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • acute kidney injury
  • cardiopulmonary bypass
  • computational model
  • hypoxia
  • oxygen tension
  • renal oxygenation

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