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
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
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
This study would be beneficial for experimental lung research
and would be useful in the study on curing lung diseases.
Mucus transport without sticky forces
Mucus transport with sticky forces