Renal arteriovenous oxygen shunting

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Renal arteriovenous oxygen shunting has been proposed as a mechanism by which oxygen supplied to the kidney can bypass the renal parenchyma. Shunting could, therefore, play a crucial role in renal hypoxia and hyperoxia. In the absence of suitable quantitative experimental methods, computational modeling has been employed in recent years to estimate the extent and potential impact of oxygen shunting.

Recent findings

Overestimation of the separation distance between arteries and veins was suggested to be responsible for previous findings that only negligible amounts of oxygen are shunted in the preglomerular vasculature. However, models considering the correct separation distance and wrapping of artery–vein pairs still showed shunting at negligible levels of less than 1% of total renal oxygen delivery. The effect of reverse CO2 shunting on the oxygen–hemoglobin dissociation curve was found to impair, rather than promote, preglomerular oxygen shunting.

Summary

Oxygen is unlikely to be shunted along the preglomerular vasculature in sufficient quantities to affect renal oxygenation. There may be substantial shunting at the level of the postglomerular vasculature, but more extensive efforts in structural imaging and computational modeling are needed to quantify it reliably.

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