Blood flow in microfluidic architectures : collective behaviors of deformable particles in confined flow

Abstract : Dynamics and rheology of a 2D confined suspension of vesicles (a model for RBCs) is studied numerically by using an immersed boundary lattice Boltzmann method (IB-LBM). We pay a special attention to the link between the spatiotemporal organization of the suspension and rheology. We first analyze situations in which vesicles perform tank-treading. The pair of vesicles settles into an equilibrium state with constant relative distance, which is regulated by the confinement. The equilibrium distance increases with the gap between walls following a linear relationship. However, no stable equilibrium distance between two tumbling vesicles is observed. The presence or the lack thereof of an equilibrium distance between two vesicles dictates the spatiotemporal organization of the suspension (order or disorder). Ordering of the suspension is accompanied with quite ample oscillation of normalized viscosity as a function of concentration, while the effective viscosity exhibits plateau. The oscillations amplitude of normalized viscosity is suppressed when disordered pattern prevails.Beside the interactions in the shear plane discussed in 2D framework, the interactions in the vertical direction to the shear plane are also analyzed by 3D simulations of capsules (a model for RBCs) and experiments. We show that in a confined blood suspension RBCs spontaneously organize in a crystalline-like structure under the sole effect of hydrodynamic interaction. It is further shown that when RBCs are substituted by rigid particles order disappears in favor of disorder. Various crystalline orders take place depending on concentration and confinement. The intercellular distance of the crystalline structure is a linear function of confinement. Order appears as a subtle interplay between the lift force that pushes RBCs away from walls towards the center and hydrodynamics interaction in the vertical of shear flow plane. This study introduces a new paradigm in the field of dilute non-colloidal suspensions where the prevalence of disorder was up-to date the rule.The partition of RBCs at the level of bifurcations is addressed in our computer simulations and in vitro experiments, which reveal that the hematocrit partition depends strongly on the viscosity contrast between the viscosities of the RBC hemoglobin and the suspending fluid, as long as hematocrit is less than 20% (which is the normal range in microcirculation). In the extreme hemodilution, our results exhibit a new phenomenon: the low flow rate branch may receive higher hematocrit than the high flow rate branch in opposition to the known Zweifach-Fung effect. This phenomenon is observed under moderate confinement and is the result of a peculiar structuring of the cell suspension. Our findings suggest that the various RBCs properties must be taken into consideration and carefully analyzed in order to have a firm understanding of RBC distribution in microcirculation and thus oxygen delivery in the microcirculation in general.Finally, we carry out numerical simulations of a large number of RBCs flowing in a network that is structured in a honeycomb pattern. Our results reveal that as long as the hematocrit is less than 20% the RBCs with higher membrane rigidity show a larger lateral displacement in the network. Furthermore, we discover a deviation of RBC flux in network from that in straight tube where the more rigid RBCs get the smaller flux. Oppositely, the larger RBC flux is observed for the more rigid RBCs in the network. Finally, we report on the manifestation of a faster longitudinal diffusion of crowded RBCs with smaller deformability in the network. Our results provide interesting information on the RBC delivery in the network, which should be significant not only in the understanding of the blood perfusion and the RBC transit in the microcirculation but also in practical applications such as cell sorting and chemical analysis.
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Zaiyi Shen. Blood flow in microfluidic architectures : collective behaviors of deformable particles in confined flow. Biological Physics [physics.bio-ph]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAY037⟩. ⟨tel-01503606v2⟩

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