Roles of cell and microvillus deformation and receptor-ligand binding kinetics in cell rolling

Parag Pawar, Sameer Jadhav, Charles D. Eggleton, Konstantinos Konstantopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) recruitment to sites of inflammation is initiated by selectin-mediated PMN tethering and rolling on activated endothelium under flow. Cell rolling is modulated by bulk cell deformation (mesoscale), microvillus deformability (microscale), and receptor-ligand binding kinetics (nanoscale). Selectin-ligand bonds exhibit a catch-slip bond behavior, and their dissociation is governed not only by the force but also by the force history. Whereas previous theoretical models have studied the significance of these three "length scales" in isolation, how their interplay affects cell rolling has yet to be resolved. We therefore developed a three-dimensional computational model that integrates the aforementioned length scales to delineate their relative contributions to PMN rolling. Our simulations predict that the catch-slip bond behavior and to a lesser extent bulk cell deformation are responsible for the shear threshold phenomenon. Cells bearing deformable rather than rigid microvilli roll slower only at high P-selectin site densities and elevated levels of shear (≥400 s-1). The more compliant cells (membrance stiffness = 1.2 dyn/cm) rolled slower than cells with a membrane stiffness of 3.0 dyn/cm at shear rates >50 s-1. In summary, our model demonstrates that cell rolling over a ligand-coated surface is a highly coordinated process characterized by a complex interplay between forces acting on three distinct length scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H1439-H1450
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell deformation
  • Fluid shear
  • Immersed boundary method
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • P-selectin
  • Viscoelastic microvillus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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