The key events of thrombus formation: platelet adhesion and aggregation

  • Ting YeEmail author
  • Huixin Shi
  • Nhan Phan-Thien
  • Chwee Teck Lim
Original Paper


Thrombus formation is a complex, dynamic and multistep process, involving biochemical reactions, mechanical stimulation, hemodynamics, and so on. In this study, we concentrate on its two crucial steps: (i) platelets adhered to a vessel wall, or simply platelet adhesion, and (ii) platelets clumping and arrested to the adherent platelets, named platelet aggregation. We report the first direct simulation of three modes of platelet adhesion, detachment, rolling adhesion and firm adhesion, as well as the formation, disintegration, arrestment and consolidation of platelet plugs. The results show that the bond dissociation in the detachment mode is mainly attributed to a high probability of rupturing bonds, such that any existing bond can be quickly ruptured and all bonds would be completely broken. In the rolling adhesion, however, it is mainly attributed to the strong traction from the shear flow or erythrocytes, causing that the bonds are ruptured at the trailing edge of the platelet. The erythrocytes play an important role in platelet activities, such as the formation, disintegration, arrestment and consolidation of platelet plugs. They exert an aggregate force on platelets, a repulsion at a near distance but an attraction at a far distance to the platelets. This aggregate force can promote platelets to form a plug and/or bring along a part of a platelet plug causing its disintegration. It also greatly influences the arrestment and consolidation of platelet plugs, together with the adhesive force from the thrombus.


Numerical modeling Thrombus formation Platelet aggregation Platelet adhesion 



The authors thank Yu Li for technical assistance with making figures. The authors acknowledge financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Project No. 11502094 and the Jilin Province Natural Science Foundation of China under Project No. 20180520024JH.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

Movie 1: The rolling motion of a platelet subject to simple Couette shear flow at H/a=1.0. It corresponds to Fig. 3(a) in the main paper. (Video 4.29MB)

Movie 2: The platelet is firmly adhered on the bottom plate, subject to the same Couette shear flow as in Movie 1 but at H/a=0.45. (Video 5.66MB)

Movie 3: The detachment mode in platelet adhesion, where the platelets are detached from the thrombus. It corresponds to Fig. 5(a) in the main paper. (Video 6.07MB)

Movie 4: The rolling mode in platelet adhesion, where the platelets roll forward on the thrombus. It corresponds to Fig. 5(b) in the main paper. (Video 7.02MB)

Movie 5: The firm mode in platelet adhesion, where the platelets are firmly adhered on the thrombus. It corresponds to Fig. 5(c) in the main paper. (Video 11.9MB)

Movie 6: A detachment mode is produced by enlarging the flow velocity in the case of Movie 4 fivefold. It corresponds to Fig. 8(a) in the main paper. (Video 4.83MB)

Movie 7: A rolling mode is produced by enlarging the flow velocity in the case of Movie 5 fivefold. It corresponds to Fig. 8(b) in the main paper. (Video 5.86MB)

Movie 8: The formation and disintegration of platelet plugs in platelet aggregation, where the platelet plugs are formed, and then some of them are disintegrated into two small plugs. It corresponds to Fig. 9(a) in the main paper. (Video 15.1MB)

Movie 9: The arrestment and consolidation of platelet plugs in platelet aggregation, where the platelets in the microvessels are arrested and consolidated onto the thrombus. It corresponds to Fig. 9(b) in the main paper. (Video 7.64MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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