Modelling Cell Orientation In Artificial Tissues

Mieczkowski, Piotr W. (2018). Modelling Cell Orientation In Artificial Tissues. MPhil thesis The Open University.



Engineered tissues have many potential applications both as experimental systems and in therapeutic devices and treatments. Specially, there is potential to repair damaged spinal cord, however work is still needed to predict the process of tissue growth. Computational physics has potential to signicantly accelerate the progress of development and to improve the properties of engineered neural tissue (ENT).

Research has found that correlation exists between physical forces and the arrangement of cells in engineered tissue. In this thesis, emphasis is put on the interaction between astrocytes within engineered neural tissue (ENT). The main aim of this work is to create a computational model which will be able to predict the arrangement of these cells in ENT.

Computational techniques of soft matter physics are used to describe the final growth state of cells in ENT. In this thesis, we treat tissue as a two dimensional mesh. Interactions are described by both a simple Hamiltonian related to cell orientation and the dipole force model (DFM) and a more advanced Hamiltonian, which takes into account the inuence of the extracellular matrix and cells. To find the minimum energy state of the system a simulated annealing algorithm was used.

The first set of results presents a two-dimensional map of real articial engineered neural tissue and shows the statistical distribution of the average angles and positions of groups of cells within the tissue. Next, we present results generated by a simple Hamiltonian and more advanced model to investigate information about orientation, arrangement and shape of the whole tissue.

It is found that an extended DFM where cells can move and change orientation is able to reproduce several features of the experimental data including an approximation to the delta regions and the aligned behaviour in the centre of the sample.

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