Why do red blood cells have asymmetric shapes even in a symmetric flow?

B. Kaoui, G. Biros, C. Misbah

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    139 Citations (Scopus)
    165 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Understanding why red blood cells (RBCs) move with an asymmetric shape (slipperlike shape) in small blood vessels is a long-standing puzzle in blood circulatory research. By considering a vesicle (a model system for RBCs), we discovered that the slipper shape results from a loss in stability of the symmetric shape. It is shown that the adoption of a slipper shape causes a significant decrease in the velocity difference between the cell and the imposed flow, thus providing higher flow efficiency for RBCs. Higher membrane rigidity leads to a dramatic change in the slipper morphology, thus offering a potential diagnostic tool for cell pathologies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number188101
    Pages (from-to)188101-1/4
    Number of pages4
    JournalPhysical Review Letters
    Volume103
    Issue number18
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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