Collective effects in cellular structure formation mediated by compliant environments: A Monte Carlo study
Compliant environments can mediate interactions between mechanically active cells like fibroblasts. Starting with a phenomenological model for the behavior of single cells, we use extensive Monte Carlo simulations to predict non-trivial structure formation for cell communities on soft elastic substrates as a function of elastic moduli, cell density, noise and cell position geometry. In general, we find a disordered structure as well as ordered string-like and ring-like structures. The transition between ordered and disordered structures is controlled both by cell density and noise level, while the transition between string- and ring-like ordered structures is controlled by the Poisson ratio. Similar effects are observed in three dimensions. Our results suggest that in regard to elastic effects, healthy connective tissue usually is in a macroscopically disordered state, but can be switched to a macroscopically ordered state by appropriate parameter variations, in a way that is reminiscent of wound contraction or diseased states like contracture.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 2, Issue 3, May 2006, Pages 253–265