Journal of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 485–532 | Cite as

Mesoscopic and continuum modelling of angiogenesis

  • F. SpillEmail author
  • P. Guerrero
  • T. Alarcon
  • P. K. Maini
  • H. M. Byrne


Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones in response to chemical signals secreted by, for example, a wound or a tumour. In this paper, we propose a mesoscopic lattice-based model of angiogenesis, in which processes that include proliferation and cell movement are considered as stochastic events. By studying the dependence of the model on the lattice spacing and the number of cells involved, we are able to derive the deterministic continuum limit of our equations and compare it to similar existing models of angiogenesis. We further identify conditions under which the use of continuum models is justified, and others for which stochastic or discrete effects dominate. We also compare different stochastic models for the movement of endothelial tip cells which have the same macroscopic, deterministic behaviour, but lead to markedly different behaviour in terms of production of new vessel cells.


Angiogenesis Stochastic models Master equation Mesoscopic models Reaction–diffusion system 

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000)

92C17 Cell movement (chemotaxis, etc.) 60J70 Applications of Brownian motions 35Q92 PDEs in connection with biology and other natural sciences 



This publication was based on work supported in part by Award No KUK-C1-013-04, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). TA and PG gratefully acknowledge the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation (MICINN) for funding under grant MTM2011-29342 and Generalitat de Catalunya for funding under grant 2009SGR345. PKM was partially supported by the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health grant U54CA143970.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Spill
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Guerrero
    • 2
    • 3
  • T. Alarcon
    • 2
    • 4
  • P. K. Maini
    • 5
  • H. M. Byrne
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.OCCAM, Mathematical InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  2. 2.Centre de Recerca MatematicaBellaterraSpain
  3. 3.Department of MathematicsUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Departament de MatemàtiquesUniversitat Atonòma de BarcelonaBellaterraSpain
  5. 5.Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology, Mathematical InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  6. 6.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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