JournalsifbVol. 22, No. 2pp. 205–244

From individual-based mechanical models of multicellular systems to free-boundary problems

  • Tommaso Lorenzi

    University of St Andrews, UK
  • Philip J. Murray

    University of Dundee, UK
  • Mariya Ptashnyk

    Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK
From individual-based mechanical models of multicellular systems to free-boundary problems cover
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Abstract

In this paper we present an individual-based mechanical model that describes the dynamics of two contiguous cell populations with different proliferative and mechanical characteristics. An off-lattice modelling approach is considered whereby: (i) every cell is identified by the position of its centre; (ii) mechanical interactions between cells are described via generic nonlinear force laws; and (iii) cell proliferation is contact inhibited. We formally show that the continuum counterpart of this discrete model is given by a free-boundary problem for the cell densities. The results of the derivation demonstrate how the parameters of continuum mechanical models of multicellular systems can be related to biophysical cell properties. We prove an existence result for the free-boundary problem and construct travelling-wave solutions. Numerical simulations are performed in the case where the cellular interaction forces are described by the celebrated Johnson–Kendalli–Roberts model of elastic contact, which has been previously used to model cell-cell interactions. The results obtained indicate excellent agreement between the simulation results for the individual-based model, the numerical solutions of the corresponding free-boundary problem and the travelling-wave analysis.

Cite this article

Tommaso Lorenzi, Philip J. Murray, Mariya Ptashnyk, From individual-based mechanical models of multicellular systems to free-boundary problems. Interfaces Free Bound. 22 (2020), no. 2, pp. 205–244

DOI 10.4171/IFB/439