Rheological properties of the blood influencing selectin-mediated adhesion of flowing leukocytes

Katherine Abbitt, Gerard Nash

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


We studied how the rheological properties of blood influenced capture and rolling adhesion of leukocytes as well as their margination in the bloodstream. When citrated, fluorescently labeled blood was perfused through glass capillaries coated with P-selectin, leukocytes formed numerous rolling attachments. The number of attached leukocytes increased as the hematocrit was increased between 10% and 30% and was essentially constant from 30% to 50%. In EDTA-treated blood, adhesion was absent, and the flux of marginated cells varied little with increasing hematocrit. However, the velocity of marginated leukocytes increased monotonically, whereas the volumetric flow rate was constant, implying that the flow velocity profile became blunted and wall shear rate increased. Thus increasing hematocrit promoted attachment for a given total flow rate, without increasing margination, even though wall shear rate and blood viscosity increased. Blood was diluted to 20% hematocrit with plasma, 40-kDa dextran (to reduce red blood cell aggregation), or 500-kDa dextran (to enhance aggregation). Increasing aggregation correlated with increasing leukocyte adhesion and with more slow-flowing leukocytes near the wall. Thus flowing erythrocytes promote leukocyte adhesion, either by causing margination of leukocytes or by initiating and stabilizing attachments that follow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H229-H240
JournalAJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date6 Mar 2003
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


  • Algorithms
  • Antigens, CD11b
  • Blood Viscosity
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Erythrocyte Aggregation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Leukocytes
  • Microscopy, Video
  • Neutrophils
  • Perfusion
  • Rheology
  • Selectins


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