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Biophys J. 2015 Jan 6;108(1):173-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2014.11.007.

Elastic behavior and platelet retraction in low- and high-density fibrin gels.

Author information

1
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado.
2
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado; Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado. Electronic address: kneeves@mines.edu.

Abstract

Fibrin is a biopolymer that gives thrombi the mechanical strength to withstand the forces imparted on them by blood flow. Importantly, fibrin is highly extensible, but strain hardens at low deformation rates. The density of fibrin in clots, especially arterial clots, is higher than that in gels made at plasma concentrations of fibrinogen (3-10 mg/mL), where most rheology studies have been conducted. Our objective in this study was to measure and characterize the elastic regimes of low (3-10 mg/mL) and high (30-100 mg/mL) density fibrin gels using shear and extensional rheology. Confocal microscopy of the gels shows that fiber density increases with fibrinogen concentration. At low strains, fibrin gels act as thermal networks independent of fibrinogen concentration. Within the low-strain regime, one can predict the mesh size of fibrin gels by the elastic modulus using semiflexible polymer theory. Significantly, this provides a link between gel mechanics and interstitial fluid flow. At moderate strains, we find that low-density fibrin gels act as nonaffine mechanical networks and transition to affine mechanical networks with increasing strains within the moderate regime, whereas high-density fibrin gels only act as affine mechanical networks. At high strains, the backbone of individual fibrin fibers stretches for all fibrin gels. Platelets can retract low-density gels by >80% of their initial volumes, but retraction is attenuated in high-density fibrin gels and with decreasing platelet density. Taken together, these results show that the nature of fibrin deformation is a strong function of fibrin fiber density, which has ramifications for the growth, embolization, and lysis of thrombi.

PMID:
25564864
PMCID:
PMC4286595
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2014.11.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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