Analysis of Hematocrit Variation Induced by Malaria-infected Red Blood Cells



The rheological properties of red blood cells (RBCs) in microvessels have a significant impact on the flow and transport of oxygen and nutrients in the blood. This paper used numerical methods to simulate the rheological property of the malaria-infected cells in microvessel, and compare the simulation results with other people’s findings. The results illustrate that in the 10-μm microvessel with low hematocrit (Hct) condition (18% and 27%), the Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (Pf-IRBCs) and healthy red blood cells (HRBCs) first form a “train”. In addition, the velocity of the Pf-IRBCs in the microvascular flow is slower than HRBCs, resulting in the increase of the surrounding erythrocyte hematocrit to about 40% or more. But this increase of volume fraction of RBCs is just temporary. It is observed that a similar phenomenon happens at the downstream region with 45%-Hct in the same microvessel. In the 20-μm microvessel with high-Hct condition (45%), the Pf-IRBCs slow down the velocity of the surrounding HRBCs and then locally elevate the volume fraction and result in the accumulating of the RBCs at the center of the vessels. Moreover, the Pf-IRBCs have a tendency to migrate to the edge of the RBC aggregates, which is called margination of red blood cells. This study is of some significance to the development of biomechanical experiments and devices.


Microcirculation, Hematocrit, Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells, Numerical simulation.


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