Forces on a wall-bound leukocyte in a small vessel due to red cells in the blood stream

Amir H.G. Isfahani, Jonathan B. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As part of the inflammation response, white blood cells (leukocytes) are well known to bind nearly statically to the vessel walls, where they must resist the force exerted by the flowing blood. This force is particularly difficult to estimate due to the particulate character of blood, especially in small vessels where the red blood cells must substantially deform to pass an adhered leukocyte. An efficient simulation tool with realistically flexible red blood cells is used to estimate these forces. At these length scales, it is found that the red cells significantly augment the streamwise forces that must be resisted by the binding. However, interactions with the red cells are also found to cause an average wall-directed force, which can be anticipated to enhance binding. These forces increase significantly as hematocrit values approach 25% and decrease significantly as the leukocyte is made flatter on the wall. For a tube hematocrit of 25% and a spherical protrusion with a diameter three-quarters that of the vessel, the average forces are increased by ∼40% and the local forces are more than double those estimated with an effective-viscosity- homogenized blood. Both the enhanced streamwise and wall-ward forces and their unsteady character are potentially important in regard to binding mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1604-1615
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 3 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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