Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 101–129 | Cite as

A mathematical model for fibroblast and collagen orientation

  • John C. Dallon
  • Jonathan A. Sherratt


Due to the increasing importance of the extracellular matrix in many biological problems, in this paper we develop a model for fibroblast and collagen orientation with the ultimate objective of understanding how fibroblasts form and remodel the extracellular matrix, in particular its collagen component. The model uses integrodifferential equations to describe the interaction between the cells and fibers at a point in space with various orientations. The equations are studied both analytically and numerically to discover different types of solutions and their behavior. In particular we examine solutions where all the fibroblasts and collagen have discrete orientations, a localized continuum of orientations and a continuous distribution of orientations with several maxima. The effect of altering the parameters in the system is explored, including the angular diffusion coefficient for the fibroblasts, as well as the strength and range of the interaction between fibroblasts and collagen. We find the initial conditions and the range of influence between the collagen and the fibroblasts are the two factors which determine the behavior of the solutions. The implications of this for wound healing and cancer are discussed including the conclusion that the major factor in determining the degree of scarring is the initial deposition of collagen.


Orientation Model Collagen Orientation Integrodifferential Equation Collagen Density Homogeneous Steady State 
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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Dallon
    • 1
  • Jonathan A. Sherratt
    • 1
  1. 1.Mathematics InstituteUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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