Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1513–1532 | Cite as

Contraction of collecting lymphatics: organization of pressure-dependent rate for multiple lymphangions

  • C. D. BertramEmail author
  • C. Macaskill
  • M. J. Davis
  • J. E. MooreJr.
Original Paper


The paper describes the extension of a previously developed model of pressure-dependent contraction rate to the case of multiple lymphangions. Mechanical factors are key modulators of active lymphatic pumping. As part of the evolution of our lumped-parameter model to match experimental findings, we have designed an algorithm whereby the time until the next contraction depends on lymphangion transmural pressure in the contraction just completed. The functional dependence of frequency on pressure is quantitatively matched to isobaric contraction experiments on isolated lymphatic segments. When each of several lymphangions is given this ability, a scheme for their coordination must be instituted to match the observed synchronization. Accordingly, and in line with an experiment on an isolated lymphatic vessel segment in which we measured contraction sequence and conduction delay, we took the fundamental principle to be that local timing can be overridden by signals to initiate contraction that start in adjacent lymphangions, conducted with a short delay. The scheme leads to retrograde conduction when the lymphangion chain is pumping against an adverse pressure difference, but antegrade conduction when contractions occur with no or a favourable pressure difference. Abolition of these conducted signals leads to chaotic variation of cycle-mean flow-rate from the chain, diastolic duration in each lymphangion, and inter-lymphangion delays. Chaotic rhythm is also seen under other circumstances. Because the model responds to increasing adverse pressure difference by increasing the repetition rate of contractions, it maintains time-average output flow-rate better than one with fixed repetition rate.


Lymph flow Fluid-structure interaction Lymphatic pumping Lumped-parameter model Numerical modelling 



All authors acknowledge support from U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant U01-HL-123420. MJD’s laboratory was supported by NIH Grant R01-HL-120867.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10237_2018_1042_MOESM1_ESM.docx (46 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (docx 46 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. D. Bertram
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Macaskill
    • 1
  • M. J. Davis
    • 2
  • J. E. MooreJr.
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of SydneyNew South WalesAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Medical Pharmacology and PhysiologyUniversity of Missouri School of MedicineColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of BioengineeringImperial College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

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