The research article “Red blood cell and platelet diffusivity and margination in the presence of cross-stream gradients in blood flows” was published by Gábor Závodszky, Britt van Rooij, Ben Czaja, Victor Azizi, David de Kanter, and Alfons G. Hoekstra in Physics of Fluids. The article was chosen as the front cover story for the issue.

“The radial distribution of cells in blood flow inside vessels is highly non-homogeneous. This leads to numerous important properties of blood, yet the mechanisms shaping these distributions are not fully understood. The motion of cells is governed by a variety of hydrodynamic interactions and cell-deformation mechanics. Properties, such as the effective cell diffusivity, are therefore difficult to investigate in flows other than pure shear flows. In this work, several single-cell, cell-pair, and large-scale many-cell simulations are performed using a validated numerical model. Apart from the single-cell mechanical validations, the arising flow profile, cell free layer widths, and cell drift velocities are compared to previous experimental findings. The motion of the cells at various radial positions and under different flow conditions is extracted, and evaluated through a statistical approach. An extended diffusive flux-type model is introduced which describes the cell diffusivities under a wide range of flow conditions and incorporates the effects of cell deformability through a shear dependent description of the cell collision cross sections. This model is applicable for both red blood cells and platelets. Further evaluation of particle trajectories shows that the margination of platelets cannot be the net result of gradients in diffusivity. However, the margination mechanism is strongly linked to the gradient of the hematocrit level. Finally, it shows that platelets marginate only until the edge of the red blood cell distribution and they do not fill the cell free layer.”

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