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In BMC bioinformatics

BACKGROUND : For optimization of microfluidic devices for the analysis of blood samples, it is useful to simulate blood cells as elastic objects in flow of blood plasma. In such numerical models, we primarily need to take into consideration the movement and behavior of the dominant component of the blood, the red blood cells. This can be done quite precisely in small channels and within a short timeframe. However, larger volumes or timescales require different approaches. Instead of simplifying the simulation, we use a neural network to predict the movement of the red blood cells.

RESULTS : The neural network uses data from the numerical simulation for learning, however, the simulation needs only be run once. Alternatively, the data could come from video processing of a recording of a biological experiment. Afterwards, the network is able to predict the movement of the red blood cells because it is a system of bases that gives an approximate cell velocity at each point of the simulation channel as a linear combination of bases.In a simple box geometry, the neural network gives results comparable to predictions using fluid streamlines, however in a channel with obstacles forming slits, the neural network is about five times more accurate.The network can also be used as a discriminator between different situations. We observe about two-fold increase in mean relative error when a network trained on one geometry is used to predict trajectories in a modified geometry. Even larger increase was observed when it was used to predict trajectories of cells with different elastic properties.

CONCLUSIONS : While for uncomplicated box channels there is no advantage in using a system of bases instead of a simple prediction using fluid streamlines, in a more complicated geometry, the neural network is significantly more accurate. Another application of this system of bases is using it as a comparison tool for different modeled situations. This has a significant future potential when applied to processing data from videos of microfluidic flows.

Bachratý Hynek, Bachratá Katarína, Chovanec Michal, Jančigová Iveta, Smiešková Monika, Kovalčíková Kristína


Cell trajectories, Microfluidic device, Neural network, Red blood cell, Simulation of fluid