68th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (November 22, 2015 — November 24, 2015)

P0002: Losing the internal compass: Asthmatic cilia

  • Janna Nawroth, Harvard University
  • Remi Villenave, Harvard University
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/APS.DFD.2015.GFM.P0002

Asthma is disease of the airways that, among other effects, impairs the clearance of mucus which increases the risk of bacterial infection. One reason for reduced mucus clearance is thought to be impaired ciliary function. Cilia are slender, hairlike cell organelles lining the airways that propel the mucus by coordinating their whip-like motions. Using microspheres as flow tracers, we visualized the ciliary transport in engineered human airway tissues. Comparing healthy tissues and tissues with induced asthma, we found dramatic differences in the fluid transport properties. In particular, whereas the healthy tissue created uniform, unidirectional flow, the asthmatic tissue was characterized by circular and stagnating flow, which could contribute to the reduced mucus clearance seen in patients.

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