Cell-cell adhesive interactions play a pivotal role in major pathophysiological vascular processes, such as inflammation, infection, thrombosis, and cancer metastasis, and are regulated by hemodynamic forces generated by blood flow. Cell adhesion is mediated by the binding of receptors to ligands, which are both anchored on two-dimensional (2-D) membranes of apposing cells. Biophysical assays have been developed to determine the unstressed (no-force) 2-D affinity but fail to disclose its dependence on force. Here we develop an analytical model to estimate the 2-D kinetics of diverse receptor-ligand pairs as a function of force, including antibody-antigen, vascular selectin-ligand, and bacterial adhesin-ligand interactions. The model can account for multiple bond interactions necessary to mediate adhesion and resist detachment amid high hemodynamic forces. Using this model, we provide a generalized biophysical interpretation of the counterintuitive force-induced stabilization of cell rolling observed by a select subset of receptor-ligand pairs with specific intrinsic kinetic properties. This study enables us to understand how single-molecule and multibond biophysics modulate the macroscopic cell behavior in diverse pathophysiological processes.
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