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Cytometry A. 2006 Jul;69(7):704-10.

Individual cell-based models of the spatial-temporal organization of multicellular systems--achievements and limitations.

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Interdisciplinary Centre for Bioinformatics, University of Leipzig, Germany.


Computational approaches of multicellular assemblies have reached a stage where they may contribute to unveil the processes that underlie the organization of tissues and multicellular aggregates. In this article, we briefly review and present some new results on a number of 3D lattice free individual cell-based mathematical models of epithelial cell populations. The models we consider here are parameterized by bio-physical and cell-biological quantities on the level of an individual cell. Eventually, they aim at predicting the dynamics of the biological processes on the tissue level. We focus on a number of systems, the growth of cell populations in vitro, and the spatial-temporal organization of regenerative tissues. For selected examples we compare different model approaches and show that the qualitative results are robust with respect to many model details. Hence, for the qualitative features and largely for the quantitative features many model details do not matter as long as characteristic biological features and mechanisms are correctly represented. For a quantitative prediction, the control of the bio-physical and cell-biological parameters on the molecular scale has to be known. At this point, slide-based cytometry may contribute. It permits to track the fate of cells and other tissue subunits in time and validated the organization processes predicted by the mathematical models.

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