Cytoadhesion of red blood cells infected by Plasmodium falciparum (Pf-IRBCs) is predominantly found in postcapillary venules, rather than in arterioles. However, factors influencing this phenomenon remain unclear. Here, we conduct a systematic study using a numerical model coupling the fluid and solid mechanics of the cells and cellular environment with the biochemical ligand-receptor interaction. Our results show that, once a Pf-IRBC adheres to the vascular wall, the Pf-IRBC can withstand even arteriole shear stresses, and exhibits either rolling or firm adhesion. We also perform a simulation of the multistep process of cytoadhesion, consisting of flow, margination, capture, and rolling or firm adhesion. This multistep simulation suggests that a lower probability of contact with the vascular wall at high shear rates may diminish adherent Pf-IRBCs in the arterioles.
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