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Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering


We have developed a numerical model of two osculating cylindrical elastic renal tubules to investigate the impact of neighboring tubules on the stress applied to a primary cilium. We hypothesize that the stress at the base of the primary cilium will depend on the mechanical coupling of the tubules due to local constrained motion of the tubule wall. The objective of this work was to determine the in-plane stresses of a primary cilium attached to the inner wall of one renal tubule subject to the applied pulsatile flow, with a neighboring renal tube filled with stagnant fluid in close proximity to the primary tubule. We used the commercial software COMSOL (R) to model the fluid-structure interaction of the applied flow and tubule wall, and we applied a boundary load to the face of the primary cilium during this simulation to produces a stress at its base. We confirm our hypothesis by observing that on average the in-plane stresses are greater at the base of the cilium when there is a neighboring renal tube versus if there is no neighboring tube at all. In combination with the hypothesized function of a cilium as a biological fluid flow sensor, these results indicate that flow signaling may also depend on how the tubule wall is constrained by neighboring tubules. Our results may be limited in their interpretation due to the simplified nature of our model geometry, and further improvements to the model may potentially lead to the design of future experiments.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and funding from the National Institutes of Health (1R15GM132829) and the National Science Foundation (1951568)




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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.