Many brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, and drug delivery procedures are linked to fluid transport in the brain; yet, while neurons are extremely soft and can be easily deformed, how the microscale channel flow interacts with the neuronal structures (especially axons) deformation and how these interactions affect the macroscale tissue function and transport properties is poorly understood. Misrepresenting these relationships may lead to the erroneous prediction of e.g. disease spread, drug delivery, and nerve injury in the brain. However, understanding fluid-neuron interactions is an outstanding challenge because the behaviours of both phases are not only dynamic but also occur at an extremely small length scale (the width of the flow channel is 100 nm), which cannot be captured by state-of-the-art experimental techniques. Here, by explicitly simulating the dynamics of the flow and axons at the microstructural level, we, for the first time, establish the link between micromechanical tissue response to the physical laws governing the macroscopic transport property of the brain white matter. We found that interactions between axons and the interstitial flow are very strong, thus playing an essential role in the brain fluid/mass transport. Furthermore, we proposed the first anisotropic pressure-dependent permeability tensor informed by microstructural dynamics for more accurate brain modelling at the macroscale, and analysed the effect of the variation of the microstructural parameters that influence such tensor. These findings will shed light on some unsolved issues linked to brain functions and medical treatments relying on intracerebral transport, and the mathematical model provides a framework to more realistically model the brain and design brain-tissue-like biomaterials.
|Number of pages||12|
|Early online date||15 Mar 2023|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2023|
- Fluid transport
- Permeability tensor