Breakthrough in the physics of blood coagulation

Yueyi Sun, lead author at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Complex Fluids Modeling and Simulation Lab, compares experiments and simulations of the platelet-induced fibrin thrombotic contraction process.Credits: Alexander Alexeev, Georgia Institute of Technology

Heart attacks and strokes, which are the main causes of death in humans, are basically blood clots in the heart and brain. A better understanding of how the blood clotting process works and how it accelerates or slows down clotting depending on your medical needs can save lives.

New research by Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University published in the journal Biomaterial Sheds new light on the dynamics and physics of blood coagulation by modeling the dynamics that act at a lesser-understood stage of blood coagulation called coagulation contractions.

“Blood coagulation is actually a physics-based phenomenon that must occur to stop bleeding after an injury,” said Wilbur A. Lamb, W. Paul Bowers, Department of Pediatrics, Georgia Institute of Technology. Wallace H. Coulter, Chief of Research and Department of Biomedical Engineering, said. Tech and Emory. “Biology is known. Biochemistry is known. But how this is ultimately transformed into physics is an unexplored territory.”

Lam and his research team argue that this is a problem. In the blood vessels of our heart or in the brain? “

Mechanism of blood coagulation

Platelets work to control bleeding. Platelets are small 2 micrometer cells in the blood that make the first plug. The blood clots that form are called fibrin and act as a scaffold for the adhesive that platelets attach to and pull. Thrombus contraction occurs when these platelets interact with the fibrin scaffold. To demonstrate contraction, researchers implanted a 3mm Jell-O mold of a LEGO figure with millions of platelets and fibrin to reproduce a simplified version of the blood clot.

“What we don’t know is,” How does it work? “” When do all these cells work together? Are they all pulled at the same time? “They are us. This is a basic question that we worked together to answer, “said Lam.

Lam’s lab collaborates with the Complex Fluids Modeling and Simulation group at the Georgia Institute of Technology to create a computational model of contracting agglomerates, led by Alexander Alexeev, a professor at the Georgia W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and Anderer Faculty Fellow. Did. The model incorporates fibrin fibers that form a three-dimensional network and dispersed platelets that can stretch pseudopodia, or tentacle-like structures that can extend from cells and attach to specific surfaces, and nearby fibers. Pull.

Breakthrough in the physics of blood coagulation

Two skin abrasions (cuts) heal thanks to blood clotting. This is a physics-based phenomenon that occurs to stop bleeding after an injury.Credits: Georgia Institute of Technology

Models show that platelets dramatically reduce the amount of blood clots

When researchers simulated a large group of platelets simultaneously activated clots, the platelets could stretch a fairly short fibrin pseudopodia, less than 6 micrometers, so small cells could only be found in nearby fibrin. It was unreachable. “But in trauma, some platelets contract first. They shrink the blood clots and other platelets become aware of more fibrin nearby, which is effective. Increases blood clot power, “explained Alexeiev. Due to the asynchronous nature. platelet The activity can increase power by as much as 70% and reduce the amount of blood clots by 90%.

“Simulations have shown that platelets work best when they are not perfectly synchronized with each other,” said Lam. “These platelets are actually pulled at different times, which By doing this, we are increasing efficiency (of blood clots). “

This phenomenon, which the team called asynchronous mechanical amplification, is most pronounced “when adequate platelet levels are obtained that correspond to the platelet levels in healthy patients,” Alexive said.

Studies may lead to better ways to treat coagulation, bleeding problems

The finding could open up medical options for people with coagulation problems, Lam treats young patients with blood disorders as a pediatric hematologist at the Afrac Cancer and Blood Disease Center in Atlanta Pediatric Healthcare. Said.

“Once we know why this happens, there is a whole new potential for treating illness. Blood coagulationHe emphasized that heart attacks and strokes occur when this biophysical process fails.

According to Lam, fine-tuning the contraction process to make the contraction process faster and more reliable can be used by patients who are bleeding in a car accident, heart attack, Weakens and slows coagulation.

Breakthrough in the physics of blood coagulation

(Left-to-right) Researchers Wilbur Lamb, Alexander Alexander Alexeiev, and Yue Sun hope that their findings will open up medical options for people with coagulation problems. Credits: Reginald Tran, Georgia Institute of Technology

“Understanding the physics of this clot contraction can lead to new ways to treat bleeding and clotting problems.”

Alexeev added that their research could lead to new biomaterials such as new types of band-aids that could help enhance the coagulation process.

First author, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology. Candidate Yueyi Sun noted the simplicity of the model and the fact that the simulation allowed the team to understand how platelets work together to constrict the fibrin clot.

“Suddenly, when we started incorporating heterogeneous activation, we got the correct volumetric contraction,” she said. “It was really great to give platelets some time delay so that they could use what previous platelets did as a better starting point. Our model is to introduce new active organisms and synthetics. I think it could be used to provide guidelines for designing. “

Sun agreed with fellow researchers that this phenomenon could occur in other aspects of nature. For example, using multiple asynchronous actuators allows you to fold large nets more effectively, improving packaging efficiency without the need to incorporate additional actuators.

“Theoretically, it may be a designed principle,” Ram said. “In order for the wound to shrink further, we may prevent the chemistries from happening at the same time. Perhaps different chemistries may occur at different times. Work half or all of the platelets together. let’s do it.”

Based on this study, Sun is the force required to hold the two sides of the graph together in terms of how the force of a single platelet is converted or transmitted to coagulation, and in terms of thickness and width. I would like to investigate in more detail. Sun also plans to include red blood cells in its model as it makes up 40% of whole blood and plays a role in determining blood clot size.

“If your red blood If cells are easily trapped in a clot, they are more likely to grow. CoagulateIt causes thrombosis problems, “she explained.

A video of thrombus contraction reveals how platelets naturally form an inconspicuous clot

For more information:
Yueyi Sun et al, Platelet heterogeneity promotes clot volume contraction: an example of asynchronous mechanical amplification, Biomaterial (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.biomaterials.2021.120828

Quote: Breakthrough in Blood Coagulation Physics (June 7, 2021) Obtained from on June 7, 2021

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Breakthrough in the physics of blood coagulation

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