Additions of a solute/carbohydrate in tissue affect the size of tissue cells and the refractive indexes of the extra- and intracellular fluids, and thus the overall tissue scattering properties. We use both the Rayleigh-Gans and Mie theory approximation in calculating effects of the osmolarity and refractive indexes on the reduced scattering coefficient of tissue, and employ photon diffusion theory to associate the reduced scattering coefficient to the mean optical path length. The calculations show that changes of scattering in tissue depend not only on the change in extracellular refractive index but also on the change in osmolarity, and thus on the change in cell size and volume fraction. Experimentally, we have utilized time-domain and frequency- domain NIR techniques to measure the changes of optical properties caused by an addition of a solute in tissue models and in perfused rat livers. The temperature-dependent path length measurement of the perfused liver confirms the dependence of tissue scattering on the tissue cell size. The results obtained from the liver with three kinds of carbohydrate perfusion display different scattering aspects and can be well explained by changes in cell size and in extracellular as well as intracellular refractive indexes. The consistency between the theoretical and experimental results confirms the dependence of optical properties in (liver) tissue on both tissue osmolarity and relative refractive indexes between the extracellular and intracellular compartments. This study suggests that the NIR technique is a novel and useful tool for noninvasive, physiological monitoring.