Effects of elastoviscoplastic properties of mucus on airway closure in healthy and pathological conditions

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A1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä
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Physical Review Fluids, Volume 8, issue 5
Airway mucus is a complex material with both viscoelastic and viscoplastic properties that vary with healthy and pathological conditions of the lung. In this study, the effects of these conditions on airway closure are examined in a model problem, where an elastoviscoplastic (EVP) single liquid layer lines the inner wall of a rigid pipe and surrounds the air core. The EVP liquid layer is modelled using the Saramito-HB model. The parameters for the model are obtained for the mucus in healthy, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis (CF) conditions by fitting the rheological model to the experimental data. Then the liquid plug formation is studied by varying the Laplace number and undisturbed liquid film thickness. Airway closure is a surface-tension-driven phenomenon that occurs when the ratio of the pulmonary liquid layer thickness to the airway radius exceeds a certain threshold. In previous studies, it has been found that airway epithelial cells can be lethally or sublethally damaged due to the high peak of the wall stresses and stress gradients during the liquid plug formation. Here we demonstrate that these stresses are also related to the EVP features of the liquid layer. Yielded zones of the liquid layer are investigated for the different mucus conditions, and it is found that the liquid layer is in a chiefly unyielded state before the closure, which indicates that this phase is dominated by the elastic behavior and solvent viscosity. This is further confirmed by showing that the elastic coefficient is one of the most critical parameters determining whether the closure occurs. This parameter also largely affects the closure time. The wall stresses are also investigated for the pathological and healthy cases. Their peaks for COPD and CF are found to be the highest due to the viscoelastic extra stress contribution. Contrary to the Newtonian case, the wall stresses for COPD and CF do not smoothly relax after closure, as they rather remain effectively almost as high as the Newtonian peak. Moreover, the local normal wall stress gradients are smaller for the COPD and CF liquid layer due to their higher stiffness causing a smaller curvature at the capillary wave. The local tangential wall stress gradients are also shown to be smaller for these cases because of the slower accumulation of the liquid at the bulge.
Funding Information: Support from the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), Grant No. 119M513, and National Institutes of Health (NIH), Grant No. HL136141, is kindly acknowledged. Publisher Copyright: © 2023 authors. Published by the American Physical Society.
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Erken , O , Fazla , B , Muradoglu , M , Izbassarov , D , Romanò , F & Grotberg , J B 2023 , ' Effects of elastoviscoplastic properties of mucus on airway closure in healthy and pathological conditions ' , Physical Review Fluids , vol. 8 , no. 5 , 053102 . https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevFluids.8.053102