The effect of hydrostatic pressure of up to 15 bars on the aggregability of rat and human red blood cells (RBC), i.e., their capability to form aggregates, was studied using computerized image analysis. The aggregate size distribution was determined under ambient pressure, following application of hydrostatic pressure for various durations up to 2 h. It was found that RBC aggregability markedly increases, up to three-fold, as the pressure which had been applied was increased. Accordingly, higher shear stress is required for dispersing the aggregates of pressure-treated RBC than those of untreated cells. The median size of human RBC aggregates was about three times higher than that of rat RBC, and this ratio was maintained following pressure treatment. RBC aggregability is a major determinant in blood flow, especially in the microcirculation. Pressure at the levels used in this study occurs in physiological states such as hyperbaric treatment or diving. The enhanced aggregability induced by application of such pressure implies that blood flow in microvessels might be altered under conditions associated with elevated hydrostatic pressure.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the US Office of Naval Research (No. N00014-91-J-1880), the Israel Ministry of Science and Technology (No. 3910191), and the Israel Ministry of Health (No. 2113/1992).
- Hydrostatic pressure
- Shear stress