Natural Drag-Reducing Polymers: Discovery, Characterization and Potential Clinical Applications
AbstractAbout seven decades ago, it was discovered that special long-chain soluble polymers added to fluid at nanomolar concentrations significantly reduce resistance to turbulent flow (Toms effect). These so-called drag-reducing polymers (DRPs) do not affect resistance to laminar flow. While the flow parameters associated with the Toms effect do not occur in the cardiovascular system, many later studies demonstrated that intravenous injections of DRPs given to experimental animals produced significant hemodynamic effects, such as increasing tissue perfusion, suggesting potential clinical use of these polymers. Moreover, it was found that the specific viscoelastic properties of these polymers make them capable of modifying traffic of blood cells in microvessels and beneficially redistributing them in the blood capillary system—a phenomenon related to rheological properties of DRPs and not related to their specific chemistry. The domain of drag reducing polymers includes many organic and water-soluble, synthetic and natural long-chain molecules. The study presented here employed chemical and rheological methods, as well as macro and microfluidic tests, to characterize the DRP that we discovered in the Aloe vera plant, which was found to be a more powerful drag reducer and less fragile than many synthetic DRPs. The drag-reducing component of aloe gel was purified and chemically identified, which helped to standardize preparation and made this polymer a strong candidate for clinical use. Examples of successful testing of the aloe-derived DRP in animal models are described. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
Marhefka, J.N.; Kameneva, M.V. Natural Drag-Reducing Polymers: Discovery, Characterization and Potential Clinical Applications. Fluids 2016, 1, 6.
Marhefka JN, Kameneva MV. Natural Drag-Reducing Polymers: Discovery, Characterization and Potential Clinical Applications. Fluids. 2016; 1(2):6.Chicago/Turabian Style
Marhefka, Joie N.; Kameneva, Marina V. 2016. "Natural Drag-Reducing Polymers: Discovery, Characterization and Potential Clinical Applications." Fluids 1, no. 2: 6.
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.