The effect of a tank-treading motion of the red cell membrane on a staggered "zipper"-type red cell flow in capillaries is examined, using a two-dimensional theoretical model. An approximately triangular cell with a thin flexible membrane enclosing a viscous fluid is adopted as a model of the red cell. The motion of model red cells arranged periodically along a two-dimensional channel in an idealized zipper-type arrangement is analyzed numerically by a finite element method applied to the Stokes equations for the flow both inside and outside the model cells. It is shown that, if the viscosity ratio of the internal fluid to the suspending fluid is lower than a critical value, there exists a stable zipper-type arrangement of cells. In that arrangement, the cells remain stationary relative to each other with the membrane tank-treading. In contrast, inhibiting tank-treading by increasing the viscosity ratio above the critical value induces a cyclic oscillatory motion of red cells. The critical viscosity ratio increases if the channel is narrowed or if the spacing between cells is reduced. The present results suggest that the membrane tank-treading tends to stabilize zipper-type arrangements of red cells in capillaries at high hematocrit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cell Biology