Threshold of microvascular occlusion: injury size defines the thrombosis scenario

Biophys J. 2015 Jul 21;109(2):450-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.06.019.


Damage to the blood vessel triggers formation of a hemostatic plug, which is meant to prevent bleeding, yet the same phenomenon may result in a total blockade of a blood vessel by a thrombus, causing severe medical conditions. Here, we show that the physical interplay between platelet adhesion and hemodynamics in a microchannel manifests in a critical threshold behavior of a growing thrombus. Depending on the size of injury, two distinct dynamic pathways of thrombosis were found: the formation of a nonocclusive plug, if injury length does not exceed the critical value, and the total occlusion of the vessel by the thrombus otherwise. We develop a mathematical model that demonstrates that switching between these regimes occurs as a result of a saddle-node bifurcation. Our study reveals the mechanism of self-regulation of thrombosis in blood microvessels and explains experimentally observed distinctions between thrombi of different physical etiology. This also can be useful for the design of platelet-aggregation-inspired engineering solutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Microvessels / pathology
  • Microvessels / physiopathology*
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Platelet Adhesiveness / physiology
  • Thrombosis / etiology
  • Thrombosis / pathology
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology*