Microfluidic and computational study of structural properties and resistance to flow of blood clots under arterial shear

Biomech Model Mechanobiol. 2019 Oct;18(5):1461-1474. doi: 10.1007/s10237-019-01154-0. Epub 2019 May 4.


The ability of a blood clot to modulate blood flow is determined by the clot's resistance, which depends on its structural features. For a flow with arterial shear, we investigated the characteristic patterns relating to clot shape, size, and composition on the one hand, and its viscous resistance, intraclot axial flow velocity, and shear distributions on the other. We used microfluidic technology to measure the kinetics of platelet, thrombin, and fibrin accumulation at a thrombogenic surface coated with collagen and tissue factor (TF), the key clot-formation trigger. We subsequently utilized the obtained data to perform additional calibration and validation of a detailed computational fluid dynamics model of spatial clot growth under flow. We then ran model simulations to gain insights into the resistance of clots formed under our experimental conditions. We found that increased thrombogenic surface length and TF surface density enhanced the bulk thrombin and fibrin generation in a nonadditive, synergistic way. The height of the platelet deposition domain-and, therefore, clot occlusivity-was rather robust to thrombogenic surface length and TF density variations, but consistently increased with time. Clot viscous resistance was non-uniform and tended to be higher in the fibrin-rich, inner "core" region of the clot. Interestingly, despite intraclot structure and viscous resistance variations, intraclot flow velocity variations were minor compared to the abrupt decrease in flow velocity around the platelet deposition region. Our results shed new light on the connection between the structure of clots under arterial shear and spatiotemporal variations in their resistance to flow.

Keywords: Axial flow velocity; Blood flow; Fibrin; Platelets; Thrombin; Viscous resistance.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / pathology*
  • Arteries / physiopathology*
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Calibration
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Fibrin / metabolism
  • Fluorescence
  • Humans
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Kinetics
  • Microfluidics*
  • Models, Cardiovascular*
  • Thrombin / metabolism
  • Thromboplastin / metabolism
  • Thrombosis / pathology*
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology*
  • Vascular Resistance*


  • Fibrin
  • Thromboplastin
  • Thrombin