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Computational Mathematical Biology (Cont'd)

  • Modeling Mucus Penetration in Mucociliary Transport in the Lung: Mechanical and Computational Study

    Mucus is a sticky complex biological material that lines the luminal surface of respiratory tissues. Mucus serves as a physical barrier against foreign particles while allowing nutrient substances passing through into the cells. Mucociliary transport is a complex dynamical process which involves interaction of the mucus layer with viscoelastic properties and the periciliay layer, a Newtonian fluid. In this process, mucus penetration, a dynamical interaction of cilia and mucus layers with its surrounding fluid, plays important roles. Dysfunctions in mucociliary clearance are associated several lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. Early in 1973, Michael Sleigh has pointed out that when cilia propel mucus, only the tips of the effective stroke cilia penetrate the mucus and ``claw'' it forward. However so far mathematically and mechanically modeling this complex biological system is far from satisfactory. We propose a mechanical and computational model to simulate the mucus penetration in the process of mucociliary tranpsort in the lung. This model couples the time-dependent fluid dynamics governed by Navier-Stokes equations and the internal force generation algorithm by ATP-induced molecular motor proteins. This study would be beneficial for experimental lung research and would be useful in the study on curing lung diseases.
    mucus movie 1
    Mucus transport without sticky forces
    mucus movie 2
    Mucus transport with sticky forces

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