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Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Vascular Network Formation

Paolo Butt\`a, Fiammetta Cerreti, Vito D. P. Servedio, Livio Triolo
Arxiv ID: 0707.1078Last updated: 12/22/2022
Endothelial cells are responsible for the formation of the capillary blood vessel network. We describe a system of endothelial cells by means of two-dimensional molecular dynamics simulations of point-like particles. Cells' motion is governed by the gradient of the concentration of a chemical substance that they produce (chemotaxis). The typical time of degradation of the chemical substance introduces a characteristic length in the system. We show that point-like model cells form network resembling structures tuned by this characteristic length, before collapsing altogether. Successively, we improve the non-realistic point-like model cells by introducing an isotropic strong repulsive force between them and a velocity dependent force mimicking the observed peculiarity of endothelial cells to preserve the direction of their motion (persistence). This more realistic model does not show a clear network formation. We ascribe this partial fault in reproducing the experiments to the static geometry of our model cells that, in reality, change their shapes by elongating toward neighboring cells.

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