Tumor cell adhesion to the endothelium under shear flow conditions is a critical step that results in circulation-mediated tumor metastasis. This study presents experimental and computational techniques for studying the local hydrodynamic environment around adherent cells and how local shear conditions affect cell-cell interactions on the endothelium in tumor cell adhesion. To study the local hydrodynamic profile around heterotypic adherent cells, a side-view flow chamber assay coupled with micro particle imaging velocimetry (μPIV) technique was developed, where interactions between leukocytes and tumor cells in the near-endothelial wall region and the local shear flow environment were characterized. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were also used to obtain quantitative flow properties around those adherent cells. Results showed that cell dimension and relative cell-cell positions had strong influence on local shear rates. The velocity profile above leukocytes and tumor cells displayed very different patterns. Larger cell deformations led to less disturbance to the flow. Local shear rates above smaller cells were observed to be more affected by relative positions between two cells.
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