Journal of Biorheology

, Volume 27, Issue 1–2, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Measurement and analysis of the shape recovery process of each erythrocyte for estimation of its deformability using the microchannel technique: the influence of the softness of the cell membrane and viscosity of the hemoglobin solution inside the cell

  • Tsutomu Tajikawa
  • Yuya Imamura
  • Takaya Ohno
  • Fumiya Muranishi
  • Maki Kubota
  • Kenkichi Ohba
Review Article


This study tried to evaluate the deformability of each erythrocyte by measuring the time constant of shape recovery just after the erythrocytes left the microchannels. We fabricated a microchannel array with a 5μm-square, 100μm-long cross-section on a PDMS sheet. Three different kinds of blood samples were prepared—healthy erythrocytes as a control, artificially membrane-hardened erythrocytes and artificial hemoglobin solution-diluted erythrocytes—to investigate the influence of erythrocyte's mechanical property changes on the time constant of shape recovery. These shape recovery processes were modeled and analyzed by a standard liner solid model. As a result, the temporal variation of the compressive strain of all erythrocytes showed exponential decay with time elapsed like a first order lag system, so the time constant of shape recovery could be calculated from the semi-logarithmic relaxation curve. The stiffer the cell membrane was using glutaraldehyde, the shorter the time constant for relaxation became compared to healthy erythrocytes. The diluted hemoglobin erythrocytes snapped back quicker than healthy ones. In addition, the time constant of healthy blood drawn from females was clearly shorter than that collected from males. However, the time constant of fully hemoglobin substituted erythrocytes was not affected by gender difference. These results indicate that there is not a significant difference in the stiffness of healthy cell membranes regardless of individual and gender differences. On the other hand, the viscosity of the hemoglobin solution inside the cell is one of the significant factors affecting the time constant. Therefore, these results suggest that the deformability of individual erythrocytes can be quantitated by the time constant for relaxation measured by microchannel techniques.


Erythrocyte Deformability Micro channel technique Shape recovery Standard linear solid model 



A part of this research was supported by the “Strategic Project to Support the Formation of Research Bases at Private Universities” Matching Fund Subsidy from MEXT 2008–2010, JSPS; and by KAKENHI (15700339) and the Kansai University Research Grants: Grant-in-Aid for Joint Research, 2008. The authors express our appreciation for the cooperation with Christopher D. Bertram at the University of Sydney.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Biorheology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tsutomu Tajikawa
    • 1
  • Yuya Imamura
    • 2
  • Takaya Ohno
    • 2
  • Fumiya Muranishi
    • 2
  • Maki Kubota
    • 2
  • Kenkichi Ohba
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering ScienceKansai UniversitySuitaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate school of Science and EngineeringKansai UniversitySuitaJapan
  3. 3.Organization for Research and Development of Innovative Science and TechnologyKansai UniversitySuitaJapan

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