Blood Rheology: Key Parameters, Impact on Blood Flow, Role in Sickle Cell Disease and Effects of Exercise

Frontiers in Physiology
Elie NaderPhilippe Connes

Abstract

Blood viscosity is an important determinant of local flow characteristics, which exhibits shear thinning behavior: it decreases exponentially with increasing shear rates. Both hematocrit and plasma viscosity influence blood viscosity. The shear thinning property of blood is mainly attributed to red blood cell (RBC) rheological properties. RBC aggregation occurs at low shear rates, and increases blood viscosity and depends on both cellular (RBC aggregability) and plasma factors. Blood flow in the microcirculation is highly dependent on the ability of RBC to deform, but RBC deformability also affects blood flow in the macrocirculation since a loss of deformability causes a rise in blood viscosity. Indeed, any changes in one or several of these parameters may affect blood viscosity differently. Poiseuille's Law predicts that any increase in blood viscosity should cause a rise in vascular resistance. However, blood viscosity, through its effects on wall shear stress, is a key modulator of nitric oxide (NO) production by the endothelial NO-synthase. Indeed, any increase in blood viscosity should promote vasodilation. This is the case in healthy individuals when vascular function is intact and able to adapt to blood rheological strai...Continue Reading

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Methods Mentioned

BETA
rheology

Related Concepts

Anemia, Sickle Cell
Blood
Blood Viscosity
Criminal Law
Erythrocytes
Hematological Disease
Laboratory mice
Microcirculation
Nitric Oxide
Plasma

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