A model for red blood cell motion in glycocalyx-lined capillaries

Timothy W Secomb, R. Hsu, A. R. Pries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The interior surfaces of capillaries are lined with a layer (glycocalyx) of macromolecules bound or adsorbed to the endothelium. Here, a theoretical model is used to analyze the effects of the glycocalyx on hematocrit and resistance to blood flow in capillaries. The glycocalyx is represented as a porous layer that resists penetration by red blood cells. Axisymmetric red blood cell shapes are assumed, and effects of cell membrane shear elasticity are included. Lubrication theory is used to compute the flow of plasma around the cell and within the glycocalyx. The effects of the glycocalyx on tube hematocrit (Fahraeus effect) and on flow resistance are predicted as functions of the width and hydraulic resistivity of the layer. A layer of width 1 μm and resistivity 108 dyn·s/cm4 leads to a relative apparent viscosity of ∼10 in a 6-μm capillary at discharge hematocrit 45% and flow velocity of ∼1 mm/s. This is consistent with experimental observations of increased flow resistance in microvessels in vivo, relative to glass tubes with the same diameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume43
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

Fingerprint

Glycocalyx
Erythrocytes
Hematocrit
Lubrication
Cell Shape
Elasticity
Microvessels
Plasma Cells
Viscosity
Endothelium
Glass
Theoretical Models
Cell Membrane

Keywords

  • Apparent viscosity
  • Blood flow resistance
  • Fahraeus effect
  • Hematocrit
  • Microvessels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this

A model for red blood cell motion in glycocalyx-lined capillaries. / Secomb, Timothy W; Hsu, R.; Pries, A. R.

In: American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, Vol. 43, No. 3, 03.1998.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - The interior surfaces of capillaries are lined with a layer (glycocalyx) of macromolecules bound or adsorbed to the endothelium. Here, a theoretical model is used to analyze the effects of the glycocalyx on hematocrit and resistance to blood flow in capillaries. The glycocalyx is represented as a porous layer that resists penetration by red blood cells. Axisymmetric red blood cell shapes are assumed, and effects of cell membrane shear elasticity are included. Lubrication theory is used to compute the flow of plasma around the cell and within the glycocalyx. The effects of the glycocalyx on tube hematocrit (Fahraeus effect) and on flow resistance are predicted as functions of the width and hydraulic resistivity of the layer. A layer of width 1 μm and resistivity 108 dyn·s/cm4 leads to a relative apparent viscosity of ∼10 in a 6-μm capillary at discharge hematocrit 45% and flow velocity of ∼1 mm/s. This is consistent with experimental observations of increased flow resistance in microvessels in vivo, relative to glass tubes with the same diameters.

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