, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 602-610
Date: 28 Jun 2011

Interstitial fluid flow: simulation of mechanical environment of cells in the interosseous membrane

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In vitro experiments have shown that subtle fluid flow environment plays a significant role in living biological tissues, while there is no in vivo practical dynamical measurement of the interstitial fluid flow velocity. On the basis of a new finding that capillaries and collagen fibrils in the interosseous membrane form a parallel array, we set up a porous media model simulating the flow field with FLUENT software, studied the shear stress on interstitial cells’ surface due to the interstitial fluid flow, and analyzed the effect of flow on protein space distribution around the cells. The numerical simulation results show that the parallel nature of capillaries could lead to directional interstitial fluid flow in the direction of capillaries. Interstitial fluid flow would induce shear stress on the membrane of interstitial cells, up to 30 Pa or so, which reaches or exceeds the threshold values of cells’ biological response observed in vitro. Interstitial fluid flow would induce nonuniform spacial distribution of secretion protein of mast cells. Shear tress on cells could be affected by capillary parameters such as the distance between the adjacent capillaries, blood pressure and the permeability coefficient of capillary’s wall. The interstitial pressure and the interstitial porosity could also affect the shear stress on cells. In conclusion, numerical simulation provides an effective way for in vivo dynamic interstitial velocity research, helps to set up the vivid subtle interstitial flow environment of cells, and is beneficial to understanding the physiological functions of interstitial fluid flow.

The project was supported by Shanghai Leading Academic Discipline Project (B112 and T0302), Shanghai Science & Technology Development Foundation (09DZ1976600) and Shanghai Rising-Star Program (10QA1406100).