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Drag-reducing polymers diminish near-wall concentration of platelets in microchannel blood flow.

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2010 by R Zhao, J. N. Marhefka, James Antaki, Marina V. Kameneva

The accumulation of platelets near the blood vessel wall or artificial surface is an important factor in the cascade of events responsible for coagulation and/or thrombosis. In small blood vessels and flow channels this phenomenon has been attributed to the blood phase separation that creates a red blood cell (RBC)-poor layer near the wall. We hypothesized that blood soluble drag-reducing polymers (DRP), which were previously shown to lessen the near-wall RBC depletion layer in small channels, may consequently reduce the near-wall platelet excess. This study investigated the effects of DRP on the lateral distribution of platelet-sized fluorescent particles (diam. = 2 μm, 2.5 × 10⁸/ml) in a glass square microchannel (width and depth = 100 μm). RBC suspensions in PBS were mixed with particles and driven through the microchannel at flow rates of 6-18 ml/h with and without added DRP (10 ppm of PEO, MW = 4500 kDa). Microscopic flow visualization revealed an elevated concentration of particles in the near-wall region for the control samples at all tested flow rates (between 2.4 ± 0.8 times at 6 ml/h and 3.3 ± 0.3 times at 18 ml/h). The addition of a minute concentration of DRP virtually eliminated the near-wall particle excess, effectively resulting in their even distribution across the channel, suggesting a potentially significant role of DRP in managing and mitigating thrombosis.