A theoretical model for the margination of particles within blood vessels

Paolo Decuzzi, S. Lee, B. Bhushan, M. Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


The margination of a particle circulating in the blood stream has been analyzed. The contribution of buoyancy, hemodynamic forces, van der Waals, electrostatic and steric interactions between the circulating particle and the endothelium lining the vasculature has been considered. For practical applications, the contribution of buoyancy, hemodynamic forces and van der Waals interactions should be only taken into account, whilst the effect of electrostatic and steric repulsion becomes important only at very short distances from the endothelium (1-10 nm). The margination speed and the time for margination t s have been estimated as a function of the density of the particle relative to blood Δ ρ, the Hamaker constant A and radius R of the particle. A critical radius R c exists for which the margination time t s has a maximum, which is influenced by both Δ ρ and A: the critical radius decreases as the relative density increases and the Hamaker constant decreases. Therefore, particles used for drug delivery should have a radius smaller than the critical value (in the range of 100 nm) to facilitate margination and interaction with the endothelium. While particles used as nanoharvesting agents in proteomics or genomics analysis should have a radius close to the critical value to minimize margination and increase their circulation time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Buoyancy
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Electrostatic double layer
  • Nanoharvesting agents
  • Non-specific interactions
  • Van der Waals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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