The purpose of this paper is to review the development of continuum mechanics models of single leukocytes in both passive deformations and active motions and to indicate some future directions. Models of passive deformations describe the overall rheological behavior of single leukocytes under externally applied forces and predict the average mechanical properties from experimental data. Various “apparent” viscoelastic coefficients are obtained depending on the models assumed and the types of test used. Models of spontaneous motions postulate active driving mechanisms which must be derived internally from the cell itself and probably have different bases for different kind of motions. For pseudopod protrusion on leukocytes, energy transduction from chemical potential to mechanical work associated with actin polymerization at the tip of the projection is assumed to supply the motive power. For pseudopod retraction, active contraction due to actin-myosin interaction is assumed to be the driving force. The feasibility of the hypotheses are tested via numerical examples and comparison of the theoretical results with experimental measurements.

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