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Regular version of the site

Article

A mathematical model of spatial self-organization in a mechanically active cellular medium

Biofizika. 2017. Vol. 62. No. 6. P. 926-934.
Logvenkov S. A., Stein A.

 

A general continual model of a medium composed of mechanically active cells is proposed. The medium is considered to be formed by three phases: cells, extracellular fluid, and an additional phase that is responsible for active interaction forces between cells and, for instance, may correspond to a system of protrusions that provide the development of active contractile forces. The deformation of the medium, which is identified with the deformation of the cell phase, consists of two components: elastic deformation of individual cells and cell rearrangements. The elastic deformation is associated with stresses in the cell phase. The spherical component of the stress tensor describes the nonlinear resistance of the cellular medium, which leads to the impossibility of its excessive compression. The constitutive equation for pressure in the cell phase is taken in the form of a nonlinear dependence on the volume cell density. The rearrangement of cells is considered as a flow controlled by stresses in the cell phase, active stresses, and fluid pressure. The tensor of active stresses is assumed to be spherical and nonlocally dependent on the cell density. Assuming that the process of biological tissue deformation is slow, we obtained a reduced model that neglects the elastic deformation of cells, compared to the inelastic deformation. A linear stability analysis of a spatially uniform steady-state solution was performed. The hydrostatic pressure of fluid is present among the parameters that are responsible for the loss of stability of the steady-state solution: an increase in it has a destabilizing effect owing to the action of the component of the interphase interaction force that is determined by the fluid pressure. The model we obtained can be used to describe the process of cavity formation in an initially homogeneous cell spheroid. The role of local and nonlocal mechanisms of active stress generation in the formation of cavity is investigated.