Technical Briefs

Mechanical Modeling of Red Blood Cells During Optical Stretching

[+] Author and Article Information
Youhua Tan1

Control and Mechatronics Group, Joint Advanced Research Center of City University of Hong Kong and University of Science and Technology of China, Suzhou 215123, Chinayouhuatan2@student.cityu.edu.hk

Dong Sun

Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kongmedsun@cityu.edu.hk

Wenhao Huang

Department of Precision Machinery and Precision Instrumentation, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, Chinawhuang@ustc.edu.cn

The biomembrane of a red blood cell refers to the composite structure, which envelops its inner liquid.


Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 132(4), 044504 (Mar 18, 2010) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001042 History: Received October 02, 2009; Revised January 11, 2010; Posted January 19, 2010; Published March 18, 2010; Online March 18, 2010

Mechanical properties of red blood cells (RBCs) play an important role in regulating cellular functions. Many recent researches suggest that the cell properties or deformability may be used as a diagnostic indicator for the onset and progression of some human diseases. Although optical stretcher (OS) has emerged as an effective tool to investigate the cell mechanics of RBCs, little is known about the deformation behavior of RBCs in an OS. To address this problem, the mechanical model proposed in our previous work is extended in this paper to describe the mechanical responses of RBCs in the OS. With this model, the mechanical responses, such as the tension distribution, the effect of cell radius, and the deformed cell shapes, can be predicted. It is shown that the results obtained from our mechanical model are in good agreement with the experimental data, which demonstrates the validity of the developed model. Based on the derived model, the mechanical properties of RBCs can be further obtained. In conclusion, this study indicates that the developed mechanical model can be used to predict the deformation responses of RBCs during optical stretching and has potential biomedical applications such as characterizing cell properties and distinguishing abnormal cells from normal ones.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Schematic of an OS. The cell is deformed in a dual-beam OS consisting of two counterpropagating and diverging laser beams.

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Figure 2

Coordinate definition before and after optical stretching for spherical geometry (adapted from the work of Feng and Yang (17)). The spherical coordinates (r,Θ,ψ) are used to describe the cell membrane before stretching and the cylindrical coordinates (ρ,Θ,η) are used to describe the cell membrane after deformation. r0 is the initial radius of RBC. After optical stretching, the material point P is displaced to P′. The optical stress is imposed axisymmetrically on the cell.

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Figure 3

Modeling results of RBCs with different material properties k and μ

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Figure 4

Effect of cell size on the deformation behavior of RBCs in optical stretching

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Figure 5

Tension distribution on the cell surface with k=0.32 N/m, μ=6.0 μN/m, and σ0=0.3 N/m2

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Figure 6

The calculated shapes of a spherical cell based on ES membrane materials during optical stretching. The dotted line denotes the initial spherical cell shape with radius of 3.13 μm.

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Figure 7

Comparisons of the experimental data from Guck (10) and the modeling results

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Figure 8

Comparisons of the experimental data from Bareil (11) and the modeling results




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