What is COP

Osmosis is the process by which a solvent moves from a solution with a low solute concentration to a solution with a higher solute concentration. The osmotic pressure can be defined as that pressure which must be exerted on the solution to prevent any net movement of solvent across a semipermeable membrane. When the semipermeable membrane allows free transfer of salts and small ions, whilst restraining the passage of colloid molecules, the osmotic pressure of this system is termed the colloid osmotic pressure.

The capillary wall impedes transfer of protein (colloid) molecules which are dissolved in a solvent of water and electrolytes such that they are in much greater concentration on the intravascular side than on the interstitial side; therefore COP is greater in the intravascular compartment than in the interstitial compartment. This imbalance of COP across the capillary membrane counteracts the imbalance in hydrostatic pressures and, together, these pressures determine the bulk flow of water and electrolytes across the capillary wall. These Starling forces are related by

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