A mathematical model is presented for steady fluid flow across microvessel walls through a serial pathway consisting of the endothelial surface glycocalyx and the intercellular cleft between adjacent endothelial cells, with junction strands and their discontinuous gaps. The three-dimensional flow through the pathway from the vessel lumen to the tissue space has been computed numerically based on a Brinkman equation with appropriate values of the Darcy permeability. The predicted values of the hydraulic conductivity Lp, defined as the ratio of the flow rate per unit surface area of the vessel wall to the pressure drop across it, are close to experimental measurements for rat mesentery microvessels. If the values of the Darcy permeability for the surface glycocalyx are determined based on the regular arrangements of fibres with 6nm radius and 8nm spacing proposed recently from the detailed structural measurements, then the present study suggests that the surface glycocalyx could be much less resistant to flow compared to previous estimates by the one-dimensional flow analyses, and the intercellular cleft could be a major determinant of the hydraulic conductivity of the microvessel wall.
Bibliographical note© 2008 Cambridge University Press
Sugihara-Seki, M., Akinaga, T., & Itano, T. (2008). Flow across microvessel walls through the endothelial surface glycocalyx and the interendothelial cleft. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 601, 229-252. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022112008000530