Three-dimensional numerical simulation of receptor-mediated leukocyte adhesion to surfaces: Effects of cell deformability and viscoelasticity


Journal Article

Computational fluid dynamics is used to investigate the effects of cell deformability and viscoelasticity on receptor-mediated leukocyte adhesion to endothelium or a ligand coated surface in a parallel-plate flow chamber. In the three-dimensional numerical code, a leukocyte is modeled as a compound viscoelastic drop (a nucleus covered by a thick layer of cytoplasm). The nucleus, cytoplasm, and extracellular fluid are considered as Newtonian or viscoelastic liquids of high viscosity. The receptor-ligand interaction is incorporated into the code by using the spring-peeling kinetic model under the assumption that leukocyte receptors are located on the tips of cylindrical microvilli distributed over the leukocyte membrane. The code is based on the volume-of-fluid method, and the Giesekus constitutive equation is implemented in the code to capture viscoelasticity of the cytoplasm and nucleus. Numerical simulations demonstrate the formation and breakup of membrane tethers observed in vitro and suggest that the elasticity of the cytoplasm is responsible for a teardrop shape of rolling leukocytes in vivo. When viewed from the top, as normally occurs during shear flow experiments in vitro, little or no deformation occurs, a side view shows significant deformation in the contact region. We show that the leukocyte membrane can be extended and disrupted under high shear if the receptor-ligand bonds live in a stressed state for a sufficiently long time. If the shear rate is low, the leukocyte rolls along the surface. The rolling velocity of the viscoelastic cell is smaller than that of the Newtonian cell. This is due to the increased deformability of the viscoelastic cell and, as a result, the decreased torque acting on this cell. © 2005 American Institute of Physics.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Khismatullin, DB; Truskey, GA

Published Date

  • January 1, 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 3

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1070-6631

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1063/1.1862635

Citation Source

  • Scopus