When modeling a detoxifying organ function, an important component is the impact of flow on the metabolism of a compound of interest carried by the blood. We here study the effects of red blood cells (such as the Fahraeus-Lindqvist effect and plasma skimming) on blood flow in typical microcirculatory components such as tubes, bifurcations and entire networks, with particular emphasis on the liver as important representative of detoxifying organs. In one of the plasma skimming models, under certain conditions, oscillations between states are found and analyzed in a methodical study to identify their causes and influencing parameters. The flow solution obtained is then used to define the velocity at which a compound would be transported. A convection-reaction equation is studied to simulate the transport of a compound in blood and its uptake by the surrounding cells. Different types of signal sharpness have to be handled depending on the application to address different temporal compound concentration profiles. To permit executing the studied models numerically stable and accurate, we here extend existing transport schemes to handle converging bifurcations, and more generally multi-furcations. We study the accuracy of different numerical schemes as well as the effect of reactions and of the network itself on the bolus shape. Even though this study is guided by applications in liver micro-architecture, the proposed methodology is general and can readily be applied to other capillary network geometries, hence to other organs or to bioengineered network designs.
Keywords: Fahraeus-Lindqvist effect; convection-reaction; detoxifying organ; microcirculation; numerical scheme for networks; plasma skimming.
© 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.