An Electrodiffusion Model for Effects of Surface Glycocalyx Layer on Microvessel Permeability

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To investigate the charge effect of the endothelial surface glycocalyx on microvessel permeability, we extended the three-dimensional model developed by Fu et al. (J Biomech Eng 116: 502–513, 1994) for the interendothelial cleft to include a negatively charged glycocalyx layer at the entrance of the cleft. Both electrostatic and steric exclusions on charged solutes were considered within the glycocalyx layer and at the interfaces. Four charge-density profiles were assumed for the glycocalyx layer. Our model indicates that the overall solute permeability across the microvessel wall including the surface glycocalyx layer and the cleft region is independent of the charge-density profiles as long as they have the same maximum value and the same total charge. On the basis of experimental data, this model predicts that the charge density would be 25–35 meq/l in the glycolcalyx of frog mesenteric capillaries. An intriguing prediction of this model is that when the concentrations of cations and anions are unequal in the lumen due to the presence of negatively charged proteins, the negatively charged glycocalyx would provide more resistance to positively charged solutes than to negatively charged ones.


Cell membranes; Cell membranes—Electric properties; Endothelial cells; Glycoproteins


Bioelectrical and Neuroengineering | Biomechanics and Biotransport | Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering | Molecular, Cellular, and Tissue Engineering


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