We analyze theoretically the single-file flow of asymmetric red blood cells along cylindrical capillaries. Red cells in narrow capillaries are typically nonaxisymmetric, with the cell membrane moving continuously around the cell. In our analysis, cell shape and streamlines of membrane motion are prescribed. Lubrication theory is used to compute velocities and pressures in the fluid surrounding the cell. Conditions of zero lift, zero torque, zero drag, and energy conservation in the cell are imposed. Predicted tank-treading frequency, cell inclination and transverse displacement are small. Cell asymmetry and tank-treading are found to have little effect on the apparent viscosity of blood in capillaries with diameters up to 7 μm.

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