Axial and nonaxial migration of red blood cells in a microtube

Naoki Takeishi, Hiroshi Yamashita, Toshihiro Omori, Naoto Yokoyama, Masako Sugihara-Seki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Human red blood cells (RBCs) are subjected to high viscous shear stress, especially during microcirculation, resulting in stable deformed shapes such as parachute or slipper shape. Those unique deformed RBC shapes, accompanied with axial or nonaxial migration, cannot be fully described according to traditional knowledge about lateral movement of deformable spherical particles. Although several experimental and numerical studies have investigated RBC behavior in microchannels with similar diameters as RBCs, the detailed mechanical characteristics of RBC lateral movement—in particular, regarding the relationship between stable deformed shapes, equilibrium radial RBC position, and membrane load—has not yet been fully described. Thus, we numerically investigated the behavior of single RBCs with radii of 4 µm in a circular microchannel with diameters of 15 µm. Flow was assumed to be almost inertialess. The problem was characterized by the capillary number, which is the ratio between fluid viscous force and membrane elastic force. The power (or energy dissipation) associated with membrane deformations was introduced to quantify the state of membrane loads. Simulations were performed with different capillary numbers, viscosity ratios of the internal to external fluids of RBCs, and initial RBC centroid positions. Our numerical results demonstrated that axial or nonaxial migration of RBC depended on the stable deformed RBC shapes, and the equilibrium radial position of the RBC centroid correlated well with energy expenditure associated with membrane deformations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1162
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct


  • Axial migration
  • Computational biomechanics
  • Finite element method
  • Immersed boundary method
  • Lattice-boltzmann method
  • Red blood cells


Dive into the research topics of 'Axial and nonaxial migration of red blood cells in a microtube'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this