How the spleen filters blood

June 28, 2016

Subra Suresh and Ming Dao have discovered that the shape and size of blood cells is determined by a tiny opening in the spleen called the interendothelial slit, where the cells undergo a sort of "physical fitness test" before they're able to continue circulating. 

" 'The computational and analytical models from this work, along with a variety of experimental observations, point to a more detailed picture of how the physiology of human spleen likely influences several key geometrical characteristics of red blood cells,' says Suresh. 'They also offer better understanding of how the circulatory bottleneck for the red blood cells in the spleen could affect a variety of acute and chronic disease states arising from hereditary disorders, human cancers, and infectious diseases, with implications for therapeutic interventions and drug efficacy assays.' ” -MIT News

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