Monday, June 3, 2013

Modeling of micropipette aspiration and optical tweezers stretching of erythrocytes with or without Malaria parasite

Guyue Jiao, Ruojing ZhangThe erythrocytes play an important role in the human body. The healthy erythrocytes can undergo extremely large deformation while passing through small capillaries. Their infection by Malaria Plasmodium falcipurum (P.f.) will lead to capillary blockage and blood flow obstruction. Many experimental and computational methods have been applied to study the increase in stickiness and decrease in deformability of the Malaria (P.f.) infected erythrocytes. The novelty of this paper lies in the establishment of an multi-component model for investigating mechanical properties of Malaria (P.f.) infected erythrocytes, especially of their enclosed parasites. Finite element method was applied to simulate the erythrocytes’ deformation in micropipette aspiration and optical tweezers stretching using the computational software ABAQUS. The comparisons between simulations and experiments were able to quantitatively conclude the effects of stiffness and stickiness of the parasitophorous vacuole membrane on the cells’ deformation, which could not be obtained from experiments directly.
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