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Emergence of spatial patterns in a mathematical model for the co-culture dynamics of epithelial-like and mesenchymal-like cells

Marcello Delitala Tommaso Lorenzi

*Corresponding author: Marcello Delitala marcello.delitala@polito.it

MBE2017,1,79doi:10.3934/mbe.2017006

Accumulating evidence indicates that the interaction between epithelial and mesenchymal cells plays a pivotal role in cancer development and metastasis formation. Here we propose an integro-differential model for the co-culture dynamics of epithelial-like and mesenchymal-like cells. Our model takes into account the effects of chemotaxis, adhesive interactions between epithelial-like cells, proliferation and competition for nutrients. We present a sample of numerical results which display the emergence of spots, stripes and honeycomb patterns, depending on parameters and initial data. These simulations also suggest that epithelial-like and mesenchymal-like cells can segregate when there is little competition for nutrients. Furthermore, our computational results provide a possible explanation for how the concerted action between epithelial-cell adhesion and mesenchymal-cell spreading can precipitate the formation of ring-like structures, which resemble the fibrous capsules frequently observed in hepatic tumours.

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Article ID   1551-0018_2017_1_79
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