Asymmetry of blood flow and cancer cell adhesion in a microchannel with symmetric bifurcation and confluence

Takuji Ishikawa, Hiroki Fujiwara, Noriaki Matsuki, Takefumi Yoshimoto, Yohsuke Imai, Hironori Ueno, Takami Yamaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Bifurcations and confluences are very common geometries in biomedical microdevices. Blood flow at microchannel bifurcations has different characteristics from that at confluences because of the multiphase properties of blood. Using a confocal micro-PIV system, we investigated the behaviour of red blood cells (RBCs) and cancer cells in microchannels with geometrically symmetric bifurcations and confluences. The behaviour of RBCs and cancer cells was strongly asymmetric at bifurcations and confluences whilst the trajectories of tracer particles in pure water were almost symmetric. The cell-free layer disappeared on the inner wall of the bifurcation but increased in size on the inner wall of the confluence. Cancer cells frequently adhered to the inner wall of the bifurcation but rarely to other locations. Because the wall surface coating and the wall shear stress were almost symmetric for the bifurcation and the confluence, the result indicates that not only chemical mediation and wall shear stress but also microscale haemodynamics play important roles in the adhesion of cancer cells to the microchannel walls. These results provide the fundamental basis for a better understanding of blood flow and cell adhesion in biomedical microdevices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalBiomedical microdevices
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb


  • Bifurcation
  • Blood flow
  • Cancer cells
  • Confluence
  • Microchannel
  • Red blood cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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