Computational analysis of dynamic interaction of two red blood cells in a capillary.Cell Biochem Biophys 2014; 69(3):673-80CB
The dynamic interaction of two red blood cells (RBCs) in a capillary is investigated computationally by the two-fluid model, including their deformable motion and interaction. For characterization of the deformation, the RBC membrane is treated as a curved two-dimensional shell with finite thickness by the shell model, and allowed to undergo the stretching strain and bending deformation. Moreover, a Morse potential is adopted to model the intercellular interaction for the aggregation behavior, which is characterized as the weak attraction at far distance and strong repulsion at near distance. For validation of the present technique, the dynamic interaction of two RBCs in static blood plasma is simulated firstly, where the RBCs aggregate slowly until a balanced configuration is achieved between the deformation and aggregation forces. The balanced configuration is in good agreement with the results reported previously. Three important effects on the dynamic behavior of RBCs are then analyzed, and they are the initial RBC shape, RBC deformability, and the intercellular interaction strength. It is found that the RBC is less deformed into a well-known parachute shape when the initial RBC shape is larger. Similarly, if the elastic shear modulus and bending stiffness of RBC membrane increase, the RBC resistance to deformation becomes higher, such that the RBC is less deformed. The simulation results also demonstrate that the RBC deformability strongly depends on the intercellular interaction strength. The RBCs deform more easily as the intercellular interaction strength increases.