Assessment of coupled bilayer-cytoskeleton modelling strategy for red blood cell dynamics in flow

The red blood cell (RBC) membrane is composed of a lipid bilayer and a cytoskeleton interconnected by protein junction complexes, allowing for potential sliding between the lipid bilayer and the cytoskeleton. Despite this biological reality, it is most often modelled as a single-layer model, a hyperelastic capsule or a fluid vesicle. Another approach involves incorporating the membrane's composite structure using double layers, where one layer represents the lipid bilayer and the other represents the cytoskeleton. In this paper, we computationally assess the various modelling strategies by analysing RBC behaviour in extensional flow and four distinct regimes that simulate RBC dynamics in shear flow. The proposed double-layer strategies, such as the vesicle--capsule and capsule--capsule models, account for the fluidity and surface incompressibility of the lipid bilayer in different ways. Our findings demonstrate that introducing sliding between the layers offers the cytoskeleton a considerable degree of freedom to alleviate its elastic stresses, resulting in a significant increase in RBC elongation. Surprisingly, our study reveals that the membrane modelling strategy for RBCs holds greater importance than the choice of the cytoskeleton's reference shape. These results highlight the inadequacy of considering mechanical properties alone and emphasise the need for careful integration of these properties. Furthermore, our findings fortuitously uncover a novel indicator for determining the appropriate stress-free shape of the cytoskeleton.

V Puthumana, Paul G. Chen, M Leonetti, R Lasserre, M Jaeger. Assessment of coupled bilayer-cytoskeleton modelling strategy for red blood cell dynamics in flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 2024, 979, pp.A44. ⟨10.1017/jfm.2023.1092⟩. ⟨hal-04409136⟩

Journal: Journal of Fluid Mechanics

Date de publication: 22-01-2024

  • V Puthumana
  • Paul G. Chen
  • M Leonetti
  • R Lasserre
  • M Jaeger

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