Sub-cellular modeling of platelet transport in blood flow through microchannels with constriction†
Platelet transport through arterial constrictions is one of the controlling processes influencing their adhesive functions and the formation of thrombi. We perform high-fidelity mesoscopic simulations of blood flow in microchannels with constriction, resembling arterial stenoses. The wall shear rates inside the constrictions reach levels as high as ≈8000 s−1, similar to those encountered in moderate atherosclerotic plaques. Both red blood cells and platelets are resolved at sub-cellular resolution using the Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD) method. We perform a systematic study on the red blood cell and platelet transport by considering different levels of constriction, blood hematocrit and flow rates. We find that higher levels of constriction and wall shear rates lead to significantly enhanced margination of platelets, which may explain the experimental observations of enhanced post-stenosis platelet aggregation. We also observe similar margination effects for stiff particles of spherical shapes such as leukocytes. To our knowledge, such numerical simulations of dense blood through complex geometries have not been performed before, and our quantitative findings could shed new light on the associated physiological processes such as ATP release, plasma skimming, and thrombus formation.