Viscoelastic properties of Red Blood Cells in a flow

Abstract

Red Blood Cells (RBC) are transported through blood stream and are responsible of oxygen delivery to the body tissues in vertebrates animals. This is achieved by squeezing RBC through body’s capillaries, with mechanical properties being essential to achieve this function. Shape and composition of RBC are tightly related to their mechanical properties and their variation could induce several diseases and disorders. For that reason, the quantification of the mechanical properties of RBC could acts as an important biomarker. In this project we have performed flow experiments with RBC attached to a micron-sized bead using Optical Tweezers. The obtained results show two different populations of RBC characterized by the formation of a membrane microtube observed at high flow velocities values (800 μm/s or 50 pN of drag force). Analysing the force-velocity curves, we are able to differentiate these two populations and extract drag coefficient of RBC.

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