Simplified analysis method of cell-free layers in blood flows as tool for the optimization of gas exchange devices
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A novel analyzing method is presented, which allows precise characterization of cell-free layers (CFLs) of blood flowing through microchannels. The CFL occurs due to axial migration of the erythrocytes (RBCs). A confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM) is used to detect the reflected light of channel walls and cells within the blood flow. Since the presented method does not depend on emitted fluorescence signals, there is no necessity for a complex sample preparation as fluorescence marking of cells. Furthermore, it allows the characterization of the thickness of the CFL in whole blood. Due to the high vertical resolution of the used CLSM, the developed characterization method enables measurements along the optical axis of the microscope. It is exemplarily used to analyze the thickness of the CFL in human blood flowing through microchannels as a function of the hematocrit and blood flow velocity. The microchannels are made of silicone rubber with a height of 100 µm. The microchannels are intended for a gas exchange application.
KeywordsCell-free layer Blood flow Microchannels Confocal laser scanning microscope
We thank the Life Imaging Center (LIC) of the University Freiburg, especially Dr. Roland Nitschke and Dr. Angela Naumann, for facilitating the measurements.
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