Among the most crucial rheological characteristics of blood cells within the vasculature is their ability to undergo the shape change (i.e., deform). The significance of cellular deformability is readily apparent based solely on the disparate mean size of human erythrocytes (~8 µm) and leukocytes (10-25 µm) compared to the minimum luminal size of capillaries (4-5 µm) and splenic interendothelial clefts (0.5-1.0 µm) they must transit. Over the past several years our laboratory has investigated the deformability of normal and abnormal blood cell using a variety of techniques including ektacytometry, micropore cell transit times and microfluidics devices. Most recently, in collaboration with Dr. Hongshen Ma (University of British Columbia), we have been investigating how a new generation of small, inexpensive, advanced microfluidic devices that can be used to examine the vascular deformability of erythrocytes and leukocytes. These new microfluidic devices may prove useful in evaluating donor blood prior to transfusion and even in evaluating donors prior to blood collection.
Below is a brief summary of the techniques that have been used to measure red blood cell, and to a much lesser extent, white blood cell deformability.
Our microfluidic work is done in collaboration with Dr. Hongshen Ma at the University of British Columbia.
Dr. Ma is responsible for the design and manufacturing of the described microfluidic devices.
More information about Dr. Ma can be found at HERE.