The hydraulic permeability of blood clots as a function of fibrin and platelet density

Biophys J. 2013 Apr 16;104(8):1812-23. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.02.055.


Interstitial fluid flow within blood clots is a biophysical mechanism that regulates clot growth and dissolution. Assuming that a clot can be modeled as a porous medium, the physical property that dictates interstitial fluid flow is the hydraulic permeability. The objective of this study was to bound the possible values of the hydraulic permeability in clots formed in vivo and present relationships that can be used to estimate clot permeability as a function of composition. A series of clots with known densities of fibrin and platelets, the two major components of a clot, were formed under static conditions. The permeability was calculated by measuring the interstitial fluid velocity through the clots at a constant pressure gradient. Fibrin gels formed with a fiber volume fraction of 0.02-0.54 had permeabilities of 1.2 × 10(-1)-1.5 × 10(-4)μm(2). Platelet-rich clots with a platelet volume fraction of 0.01-0.61 and a fibrin volume fraction of 0.03 had permeabilities over a range of 1.1 × 10(-2)-1.5 × 10(-5)μm(2). The permeability of fibrin gels and of clots with platelet volume fraction of <0.2 were modeled as an array of disordered cylinders with uniform diameters. Clots with a platelet volume fraction of >0.2 were modeled as a Brinkman medium of coarse solids (platelets) embedded in a mesh of fine fibers (fibrin). Our data suggest that the permeability of clots formed in vivo can vary by up to five orders of magnitude, with pore sizes that range from 4 to 350 nm. These findings have important implications for the transport of coagulation zymogens/enzymes in the interstitial spaces during clot formation, as well as the design of fibrinolytic drug delivery strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation*
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Fluid / metabolism
  • Fibrin / chemistry
  • Fibrin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Biological
  • Permeability
  • Polymerization


  • Fibrin