ATP Release by Red Blood Cells under Flow: Model and Simulations

Abstract : ATP is a major player as a signaling molecule in blood microcirculation. It is released by red blood cells (RBCs) when they are subjected to shear stresses large enough to induce a sufficient shape deformation. This prominent feature of chemical response to shear stress and RBC deformation constitutes an important link between vessel geometry, flow conditions, and the mechanical properties of RBCs, which are all contributing factors affecting the chemical signals in the process of vaso-motor modulation of the precapillary vessel networks. Several in vitro experiments have reported on ATP release by RBCs due to mechanical stress. These studies have considered both intact RBCs as well as cells within which suspected pathways of ATP release have been inhibited. This has provided profound insights to help elucidate the basic governing key elements, yet how the ATP release process takes place in the (intermediate) microcirculation zone is not well understood. We propose here an analytical model of ATP release. The ATP concentration is coupled in a consistent way to RBC dynamics. The release of ATP, or the lack thereof, is assumed to depend on both the local shear stress and the shape change of the membrane. The full chemo-mechanical coupling problem is written in a lattice-Boltzmann formulation and solved numerically in different geometries (straight channels and bifurcations mimicking vessel networks) and under two kinds of imposed flows (shear and Poiseuille flows). Our model remarkably reproduces existing experimental results. It also pinpoints the major contribution of ATP release when cells traverse network bifurcations. This study may aid in further identifying the interplay between mechanical properties and chemical signaling processes involved in blood microcirculation.
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Hengdi Zhang, Zaiyi Shen, Brenna Hogan, Abdul Barakat, Chaouqi Misbah. ATP Release by Red Blood Cells under Flow: Model and Simulations. Biophysical Journal, Biophysical Society, 2018, 115 (11), pp.2218-2229. ⟨hal-02003984⟩

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