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

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.

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Cite this paper

@article{Kaoui2009WhyDR, title={Why do red blood cells have asymmetric shapes even in a symmetric flow?}, author={B. Kaoui and George Biros and Chaouqi Misbah}, journal={Physical review letters}, year={2009}, volume={103 18}, pages={188101} }