One-Dimensional Steady Continuum Model of Retraction of Pseudopod in Leukocytes

[+] Author and Article Information
Cheng Zhu, Richard Skalak

Bioengineering Institute, Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027

Geert W. Schmid-Schönbein

Bioengineering Division, Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093

J Biomech Eng 111(1), 69-77 (Feb 01, 1989) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3168342 History: Received June 01, 1988; Revised October 05, 1988; Online June 12, 2009


A one-dimensional steady state continuum mechanics model of retraction of pseudopod in leukocytes is developed. The retracting pseudopod is assumed to move bodily toward the main cell body, the bulk motion of which can be represented by cytoplasmic flow within a typical stream tube through the leukocyte. The stream tube is approximated by a frictionless tube with prescribed geometry. The passive rheological properties of cytoplasm in the main cell body and in the pseudopod are modeled, respectively, by Maxwell fluid and Hookean solid. The two regions are assumed to be separated by a sharp interface at which actin gel solates and thereby changes its rheological properties as it flows from the pseudopod to the main cell body. The driving mechanism responsible for the active retraction motion is hypothesized to be a spontaneous deformation of the actin gel, analogous but not necessarily equal to the well known actin-myosin interaction. This results in an active contractile stress being developed in the pseudopod as well as in the cell cortex. The transverse traction pulls against the inclined wall of the stream tube and is transduced into an axial stress gradient, which in turn drives the flow. The tension on the tube wall is picked up by the prestressed cortical shell. Governing equations and boundary conditions are derived. A solution is obtained. Sample data are computed. Comparison of the theory with experiments shows that the model is compatible to the observations.

Copyright © 1989 by ASME
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