Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 585–608 | Cite as

Langevin equation, Fokker-Planck equation and cell migration

  • M. Schienbein
  • H. Gruler


Cell migration can be characterized by two independent variables: the speed,v, and the migration angle, ϕ. Each variable can be described by a stochastic differential equation—a Langevin equation. The migration behaviour of an ensemble of cells can be predicted due to the stochastic processes involved in the signal transduction/response system of each cell. Distribution functions, correlation functions, etc. are determined by using the corresponding Fokker-Planck equation. The model assumptions are verified by experimental results. The theoretical predictions are mainly compared with the galvanotactic response of human granulocytes. The coefficient characterizing the mean effect of the signal transduction/response system of the cell is experimentally determined to 0.08 mm/V sec (galvanotaxis) or 0.7 mm/sec (chemotaxis) and the characteristic time characterizing stochastic effects in the signal transduction/response system is experimentally determined as 30 sec. The temporal directed response induced by electric field pulses is investigated: the experimental cells react slower but are more sensitive than predicted by theory.


Autocorrelation Function Directed Movement Stochastic Differential Equation Applied Electric Field Pulse Electric Field 
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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Schienbein
    • 1
  • H. Gruler
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung für BiophysikUniversität UlmUlmGermany

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