Measurement of extracellular space in the rabbit AV node

K. G. Lurie, A. Loy, J. Dutton, F. M. Matschinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We used quantitative histochemistry to measure the size of the extracellular space (ESC) in various regions of the rabbit heart. When inulin, sucrose, and sorbitol were used as ECS markers, the ECS of the AV- nodal tissue was found to be, respectively, 2.4, 2.2, and 2.5 times larger than that of left ventricular muscle. Glucose was also measured over a 50- fold serum concentration range as an extracellular marker for AV-nodal tissue, left ventricular muscle, and Purkinje fibers. Measurements with glucose also revealed that the ECS of the AV node was 2.5-2.8 times larger than that of ventricular muscle. In contrast, the ECS of the AV node was the same as that of Purkinje fibers when glucose was used as an extracellular marker. ATP content, measured as an intracellular marker, was similar in both AV-nodal and contractile tissue. Collectively, the data obtained with all extracellular markers indicate that the ECS of the AV-nodal region is approximately 2.5 times larger than that of adjacent contractile tissue. Differences in the size of the ECS in various regions of the heart probably have functional significance and should be considered appropriately during the interpretation of data obtained by biochemical and densitometric approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1671-1677
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP
  • Atrioventricular node
  • Cardiac conduction system
  • Extracellular space
  • Inulin
  • Purkinje fiber


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