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Sickle cell disease is a hemoglobin disorder that occurs when there is a mutation on the hemoglobin gene. This leads to an irregular shape in sickle cells as compared to regular red blood cells. Sickle cells are also stickier than regular red blood cells because they contain higher levels of P-selectin, an adhesive molecule. The stickiness of Sickle cells can lead to them sticking in blood vessels, which in turn blocks oxygenated blood from reaching different parts of the body and eventually leads to a crisis. A crisis event causes extreme pain in the person experiencing it. A recent study shows that decreasing the concentration of P-Selectin in sickle cells lessens the adhesive properties of the cells. I created an agent-based model of Sickle cells to determine whether crises events would occur faster: 1) because sickle cells were colliding to cells that were already stuck in the blood vessel due to high P-Selectin or 2) because sickle cells were getting stuck in the blood vessels as single cells since they had higher P-Selectin levels. I conducted 20 computational trials when P-Selectin ranged from 0-0.001 and 0-0.01 to check whether crisis time was affected by collisions or by sickle cells getting stuck because they had a high P-Selectin. The results showed that crisis time is more affected by the number of collisions than a higher concentration in P-Selectin.
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Okoko, Peace, "Sickle Cell Adhesion To Blood Vessels" (2021). Senior Projects Fall 2021. 37.
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