While the tissue is formed or regenerated, cells migrate collectively and remained adherent. However, it is still unclear what are the roles of cell-substrate and intercellular interactions in regulating collective cell migration. In this chapter, we introduce our newly developed finite element cellular model to simulate the collective cell migration and explore the effects of mechanical feedback between cells and between cell and substrate. Our viscoelastic model represents one cell with many triangular elements. Intercellular adhesions between cells are represented as linear springs. Furthermore, we include a mechano-chemical feedback loop between cell-substrate mechanics and cell migration. Our results reproduce a set of experimental observation of patterns of collective cell migration during epithelial wound healing. In addition, we demonstrate that cell-substrate determined mechanics play an important role in regulating persistent and oriented collective cell migration. This chapter illustrates that our finite element cellular model can be applied to study a number of tissue related problems regarding cellular dynamic changes at subcellular level.
Part of the book: Finite Element Methods and Their Applications