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Flow across microvessel walls through the endothelial surface glycocalyx and the interendothelial cleft

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2008

Department of Physics, Kansai University, 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita, Osaka 564-8680, Japan
Department of Physics, Kansai University, 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita, Osaka 564-8680, Japan
Department of Physics, Kansai University, 3-3-35 Yamate-cho, Suita, Osaka 564-8680, Japan


A mathematical model is presented for steady fluid flow across microvessel walls through a serial pathway consisting of the endothelial surface glycocalyx and the intercellular cleft between adjacent endothelial cells, with junction strands and their discontinuous gaps. The three-dimensional flow through the pathway from the vessel lumen to the tissue space has been computed numerically based on a Brinkman equation with appropriate values of the Darcy permeability. The predicted values of the hydraulic conductivity Lp, defined as the ratio of the flow rate per unit surface area of the vessel wall to the pressure drop across it, are close to experimental measurements for rat mesentery microvessels. If the values of the Darcy permeability for the surface glycocalyx are determined based on the regular arrangements of fibres with 6 nm radius and 8 nm spacing proposed recently from the detailed structural measurements, then the present study suggests that the surface glycocalyx could be much less resistant to flow compared to previous estimates by the one-dimensional flow analyses, and the intercellular cleft could be a major determinant of the hydraulic conductivity of the microvessel wall.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2008

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