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Modeling mammary gland morphogenesis as a reaction-diffusion process.

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Joint UCSF/UCB Bioengineering Graduate Group, California Univ., Berkeley, CA, USA.


Mammary ducts are formed through a process of branching morphogenesis. We present results of experiments using a simulation model of this process, and discuss their implications for understanding mammary duct extension and bifurcation. The model is a cellular automaton approximation of a reaction-diffusion process in which matrix metalloproteinases represent the activator, inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases represent the inhibitor, and growth factors serve as a substrate. We compare results from the simulation model with those from in-vivo experiments as part of an assessment of whether duct extension and bifurcation during morphogenesis may be a consequence of a reaction-diffusion mechanism mediated by MMPs and TIMPs.


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