<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

As we discuss osmotic pressure in blood and tissue fluid, it is important to recognize that the formed elements of blood do not contribute to osmotic concentration gradients. Rather, it is the plasma proteins that play the key role. Solutes also move across the capillary wall according to their concentration gradient, but overall, the concentrations should be similar and not have a significant impact on osmosis. Because of their large size and chemical structure, plasma proteins are not truly solutes, that is, they do not dissolve but are dispersed or suspended in their fluid medium, forming a colloid rather than a solution.

The pressure created by the concentration of colloidal proteins in the blood is called the blood colloidal osmotic pressure (BCOP)    . Its effect on capillary exchange accounts for the reabsorption of water. The plasma proteins suspended in blood cannot move across the semipermeable capillary cell membrane, and so they remain in the plasma. As a result, blood has a higher colloidal concentration and lower water concentration than tissue fluid. It therefore attracts water. We can also say that the BCOP is higher than the interstitial fluid colloidal osmotic pressure (IFCOP)    , which is always very low because interstitial fluid contains few proteins. Thus, water is drawn from the tissue fluid back into the capillary, carrying dissolved molecules with it. This difference in colloidal osmotic pressure accounts for reabsorption.

Interaction of hydrostatic and osmotic pressures

The normal unit used to express pressures within the cardiovascular system is millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). When blood leaving an arteriole first enters a capillary bed, the CHP is quite high—about 35 mm Hg. Gradually, this initial CHP declines as the blood moves through the capillary so that by the time the blood has reached the venous end, the CHP has dropped to approximately 18 mm Hg. In comparison, the plasma proteins remain suspended in the blood, so the BCOP remains fairly constant at about 25 mm Hg throughout the length of the capillary and considerably below the osmotic pressure in the interstitial fluid.

The net filtration pressure (NFP)    represents the interaction of the hydrostatic and osmotic pressures, driving fluid out of the capillary. It is equal to the difference between the CHP and the BCOP. Since filtration is, by definition, the movement of fluid out of the capillary, when reabsorption is occurring, the NFP is a negative number.

NFP changes at different points in a capillary bed ( [link] ). Close to the arterial end of the capillary, it is approximately 10 mm Hg, because the CHP of 35 mm Hg minus the BCOP of 25 mm Hg equals 10 mm Hg. Recall that the hydrostatic and osmotic pressures of the interstitial fluid are essentially negligible. Thus, the NFP of 10 mm Hg drives a net movement of fluid out of the capillary at the arterial end. At approximately the middle of the capillary, the CHP is about the same as the BCOP of 25 mm Hg, so the NFP drops to zero. At this point, there is no net change of volume: Fluid moves out of the capillary at the same rate as it moves into the capillary. Near the venous end of the capillary, the CHP has dwindled to about 18 mm Hg due to loss of fluid. Because the BCOP remains steady at 25 mm Hg, water is drawn into the capillary, that is, reabsorption occurs. Another way of expressing this is to say that at the venous end of the capillary, there is an NFP of −7 mm Hg.

Capillary exchange

This diagram shows the process of fluid exchange in a capillary from the arterial end to the venous end.
Net filtration occurs near the arterial end of the capillary since capillary hydrostatic pressure (CHP) is greater than blood colloidal osmotic pressure (BCOP). There is no net movement of fluid near the midpoint since CHP = BCOP. Net reabsorption occurs near the venous end since BCOP is greater than CHP.

The role of lymphatic capillaries

Since overall CHP is higher than BCOP, it is inevitable that more net fluid will exit the capillary through filtration at the arterial end than enters through reabsorption at the venous end. Considering all capillaries over the course of a day, this can be quite a substantial amount of fluid: Approximately 24 liters per day are filtered, whereas 20.4 liters are reabsorbed. This excess fluid is picked up by capillaries of the lymphatic system. These extremely thin-walled vessels have copious numbers of valves that ensure unidirectional flow through ever-larger lymphatic vessels that eventually drain into the subclavian veins in the neck. An important function of the lymphatic system is to return the fluid (lymph) to the blood. Lymph may be thought of as recycled blood plasma . (Seek additional content for more detail on the lymphatic system.)

Watch this video to explore capillaries and how they function in the body. Capillaries are never more than 100 micrometers away. What is the main component of interstitial fluid?

Chapter review

Small molecules can cross into and out of capillaries via simple or facilitated diffusion. Some large molecules can cross in vesicles or through clefts, fenestrations, or gaps between cells in capillary walls. However, the bulk flow of capillary and tissue fluid occurs via filtration and reabsorption. Filtration, the movement of fluid out of the capillaries, is driven by the CHP. Reabsorption, the influx of tissue fluid into the capillaries, is driven by the BCOP. Filtration predominates in the arterial end of the capillary; in the middle section, the opposing pressures are virtually identical so there is no net exchange, whereas reabsorption predominates at the venule end of the capillary. The hydrostatic and colloid osmotic pressures in the interstitial fluid are negligible in healthy circumstances.

Watch this video to explore capillaries and how they function in the body. Capillaries are never more than 100 micrometers away. What is the main component of interstitial fluid?


Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

Muscle of mastication
difference between seminiferous tubules and ejaculatory duct
Muhammad Reply
tell me the answer boss
wats dis group
Agemo Reply
what is azygous vein
Karan Reply
Sir muscle contraction ka topic kis part m milega
sonugora Reply
Sir muscle contraction ka topic kis part m milega
sonugora Reply
what is manipulated
Ambika Reply
life circle of RBC and the life circle of WBC.
Yemi Reply
RBC 120days
RBC 120days and WBC 10-12days
what is cardiac vascular system
what is anatomy?
Md Reply
what is manipulated
anatomy is the branch of medical science which deal with the gross structure of body or organ
note shoulder joint
what is cardiovascular system
what is manipulated
anatomical position
Study of internal structures
the system of heart and vessels
what is collar Bone?
positive feedback mechanism
Sirimala Reply
what is immunology
Riya Reply
immunology is a branch of medicine that study's the body immune system
Immunology This is the study of specific and non-specific resistance of the body against infection i.e. the study of the immune response of a host to a foreign substance, which includes study of various reactions which are induced in the body by introduction of a substance.
what is role of elimination need like fluid and also stools
Munmun Reply
what is joint pain
is the physical suffering caused by illness or injury of the joint
pls can someone describe shock,types ,pathophysiology and treatment
this is what I'm thinking "After taking out everything the body needs, the bowel then expels the leftover waste."
I think elimination also helps in the continuation of the digestive system because if the unwanted fluids and stools does not come out of the system it can create a problem in the digestive. system resulting in diseases.
shock is a condition whereby the circulating system is unable to get enough blood and oxygen to vital organs like the brain,heart,eye,kidney and others.
causing depression of those organs.
there are 2 classification of shock. primary shock: this occurs immediately after injury due emotional stimulus or pain.example hearing a bad news,sudden obstruction of airway.sudden heart attack. secondary shock :it occurs when primary shock is delayed
types of shock syncope (faint) oligaemic or hyppvovaemic shock. Anaphylactic shock. neurogenic/ physical shock septic sock catdiogenic shock.
What is the difference between dna duplication and chromosomes duplication?
to help you identify the human body parts to help you live a healthy life the study of Anatomy helps one to work in any health sector
sophia Reply
what is the function of the mitochondrial in the cell
Vida Reply

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?