Analysis of red blood cell motion through cylindrical micropores: Effects of cell properties

T. W. Secomb, R. Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Filtration through micropores is frequently used to assess red blood cell deformability, but the dependence of pore transit time on cell properties is not well understood. A theoretical model is used to simulate red cell motion through cylindrical micropores with diameters of 3.6, 5, and 6.3 μm, and 11-μm length, at driving pressures of 100-1000 dyn/cm2. Cells are assumed to have axial symmetry and to conserve surface area during deformation. Effects of membrane shear viscosity and elasticity are included, but bending resistance is neglected. A time-dependent lubrication equation describing the motion of the suspending fluid is solved, together with the equations for membrane equilibrium, using a finite difference method. Predicted transit times are consistent with previous experimental observations. Time taken for cells to enter pores represents more than one- half of the transit time. Predicted transit time increases with increasing membrane viscosity and with increasing cell volume. It is relatively insensitive to changes in internal viscosity and to changes in membrane elasticity except in the narrowest pores at low driving pressures. Elevating suspending medium viscosity does not increase sensitivity of transit time to membrane properties. Thus filterability of red cells is sensitively dependent on their resistance to transient deformations, which may be a key determinant of resistance to blood flow in the microcirculation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1101
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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