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Chapter 8: Blood Rheology

Christina Kolyva

Blood Composition
Whole blood consists of formed elements and plasma Formed elements: Red blood cells (RBCs) or erhythrocytes (99.9%) White blood cells (WBCs) or leukocytes 0.1% Platelets

Plasma consists of: Water (92%) Plasma proteins (7%) Other solutes (1%)
Hematocrit (H) is the percentage of whole blood occupied by cellular elements

Red Blood Cells

In adult males 1 l of whole blood contains 4.5-6.3 billion RBCs Shape: Biconcave disk-thin central region and thick outer margin. Why? Composition: Only organelles related to transport of respiratory gases Hemoglobin (Hb) accounts for 95% of the cells intracellular proteins HbO2 H Function: Hb O2
CO2 H2O H 2CO 3 H HCO3

Production: No nuclei or ribosomes, so they cannot divide or produce their own proteins. Life span ~120 days RBC formation (erythropoiesis) occurs in red bone marrow

White Blood Cells

In adults 1 l of whole blood contains 6-9 thousand WBCs Shape: Divided to granulocytes and agranulocytes Composition: They do have a nucleus Lymphocyte (20-30%) They contain vesicles and lysosomes Function: Defend the body against invasion by pathogens Remove toxins, waste, abnormal or damaged cells Production: They survive from days (N) to months or years (L) Produced in the bone marrow Ls also produced in lymphoid tissues
Eosinophil (2-4%) Neutrophil (50-70%) Basophil (<1%) Monocyte (2-8%)

In adults 1 l of whole blood contains 150-500 thousand platelets Shape: Flattened disks, round when viewed from above Composition: They do not have a nucleus They carry enzymes and other substances important for the process of blood clotting Function: Transport chemicals for initiation and control of clotting Form temporary platelet plug in the walls of injured blood vessels Actively contract when the clot has been formed Production: They live for 9-12 days Produced in the bone marrow by magakaryocytes

Composition: Contains significant quantities of dissolved proteins Albumins (60%): Important for the transport of fatty acids, thyroid hormones and steroid hormones. Also major contributors to the osmotic pressure of plasma Globulins (35%): Antibodies and transport proteins Fibrinogen: Important for blood clotting.Fit forms fibrin, which is the network for a blood clot Also contains regulatory proteins, electrolytes, organic nutrients and organic waste


dU Viscosity : dy gr Units: cP ( = 102 ) cm *s

Newtonian, Non-Newtonian behaviour

Rheological curves = shear stress-shear rate curves

Bingham fluids (2): 0 k Casson fluids (3): 0 k

Pseudoplastics (4, 5): k n

Apparent viscosity
For non-newtonian fluids apparent viscosity is defined as the slope of the rheological curve at a specific shear rate Relative apparent viscosity is the ratio of the apparent viscosity of a solution divided by the apparent viscosity of the solvent


Blood viscosity
Blood is a non-Newtonian fluid Apparent blood viscosity depends on shear rate Low shear rate=> Rouleaux formations and sedimentation=>high apparent viscosity High shear rate=> the stacks break down=> newtonian behaviour

Blood viscosity
The blood has yield stress

Yield stress depends on H and also on the fibrinogen concentration in plasma Empirical relation:

(H 10)*(CF 0.5) 100

Blood viscosity
Relative viscosity depends also on H and on the flexibility of the RBCs

Blood viscosity
The dependence on H is non-linear for tube sizes down to 9 m. For smaller tubes the relation is linear

Blood viscosity
Blood viscosity depends on plasma viscosity . The latter depends on the protein concentration of plasma

Protein concentration of plasma also affects the flexibility of the RBCs and the interactions between them (adhesiveness, aggregation)

Blood viscosity
Blood viscosity also depends on temperature, on the presence of platelets (thrombi formation) and on the presence of WBCs (but only at pathological conditions) Conclusion? The parameters that determine plasma viscosity affect also each other. It is difficult to study each one separately

Blood is modeled as a Casson fluid:

0 k

When >>0 k= and blood behaves like a newtonian fluid

0 At high shear rates can be calculated as: s (1 H)a 1

Fahraeus-Lindqvist effect
The apparent viscosity of blood depends on the geometry of the instrument in which it is measured

Fahraeus effect
Reduction in tube hematocrit in microvessels relative to the supply hematocrit

Blood rheology in the circulation

High shear rates, therefore blood can be considered newtonian In the capillaries though, the Fahraeus-Lindqvist effect must be taken into account

Blood rheology in the circulation

Isolated rat hearts-blood apparent viscosity was changes by adding albumin Minimal resistance remained constant despite the changes in apparent viscosity

Blood rheology in the circulation

Surface of endothelial cells is lined with glycocalyx

Blood rheology in the circulation

Consists of membrane-bound molecules: glycoproteins, glycolipids, proteoglycans and proteins

Blood rheology in the circulation

Implications of glycocalyx in blood rheology: Decrease in H larger than predicted by the anatomical diameter Increased resistance to flow Shear stress on the endothelial surface is small-transmitted via the glycocalyx Regulation of blood flow via changing the shape of the layer