Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 53, Issue 4, pp 591–621 | Cite as

Computer simulations of cell-target encounter including biased cell motion toward targets: Single and multiple cell-target simulations in two dimensions

  • S. B. Charnick
  • E. S. Fisher
  • D. A. Lauffenburger


In order for immune cells to carry out many of their functions, including clearance of infectious agents from tissue, they must first encounter their targets in the tissue. This encounter process is often the rate-limiting step in the overall function. Most immune cells exhibit chemotactic ability, and previous continuum models for encounter rates and dynamics have shown that chemotaxis can be a great advantage to cells by greatly increasing encounter rates relative to those for randomly moving cells. This paper describes computer simulations of discrete cell-target encounter events in two dimensions, for the two cases considered by the continuum models: where only a single cell and a single target are present, and where many cells and targets are present. The results of these simulations verify our previous model predictions that a small amount of chemotactic bias dramatically decreases the encounter time, while further increases in the amount of bias have a much smaller effect. Chemotactic ability is shown to be an important determinant of the kinetics of target clearance, and its effects depend on the initial cell-target ratio and the initial distributions of cells and targets.

To the best of our knowledge, this work provides the first computer simulations of particle-target encounter in which there is biased motion of particles toward their targets, and is therefore of general interest beyond specific application to immune cell function.


Clearance Rate Unit Space Small Step Size Clearance Curve Chemotactic Index 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. B. Charnick
    • 1
  • E. S. Fisher
    • 1
  • D. A. Lauffenburger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaU.S.A.

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