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Biorheology. 2012;49(4):261-70. doi: 10.3233/BIR-2012-0608.

Cell-free layer and wall shear stress variation in microvessels.

Author information

1
Bharti School of Engineering, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON, Canada.

Abstract

In this study, we simulated multiple red blood cells flowing through straight microvessels with the immersed-boundary lattice-Boltzmann model to examine the shear stress variation on the microvessel surface and its relation to the properties of cell-free layer. Significant variation in shear stress has been observed due to the irregular configuration of blood cells flowing near the microvessel wall. A low shear stress is typically found at locations where there is a cell flowing close to the wall, and a large shear stress at locations with a relatively wide gap between cell and wall. This relationship between the shear stress magnitude and the distance between cell and wall has been attributed to the reverse pressure difference developed between the front and rear sides of a cell flowing near the vessel wall. We further studied the effects of several hemodynamic factors on the variation of shear stress, including the cell deformability, the flow rate, and the aggregation among red blood cells. These simulations show that the shear stress variation is less profound in situations with wider cell-free layers, since the reverse pressure difference around the edge cells is less evident, and the influence of this pressure difference on wall shear stress becomes weaker. This study also demonstrates the complexity of the flow field in the gap between cell and wall. More precise experimental techniques are required accurately measure such shear stress variation in microcirculation.

PMID:
22836080
DOI:
10.3233/BIR-2012-0608
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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