A Computational Study of the Development of Epithelial Acini: II. Necessary Conditions for Structure and Lumen Stability

  • Katarzyna A. Rejniak
  • Alexander R. A. Anderson
Original Article


Simple epithelial tissues are organized as single layers of tightly packed cells that surround hollow lumens and form selective barriers separating different internal compartments of the body. The maintenance of epithelial structure and its function requires tight coordination and control of all the life processes of epithelial cells via cell-to-cell communication and signaling. These well-balanced cellular systems are, however, quite often disturbed by genetic or environmental cues that may lead to the formation of epithelial tumors (carcinomas). In fact, more than a half of all diagnosed tumors are initiated from epithelial cells. It is, therefore, important to gain a greater understanding of the factors that form and maintain the epithelial structure, as well as the features of the acinar structure that are modified during cancer development as observable in experimental and clinical research. We address these questions using the bio-mechanical model of the developing hollow epithelial acini introduced in Rejniak and Anderson (Bull. Math. Biol. 70:677–712, 2008). Here, we propose several scenarios involving various bio-mechanical interactions between neighboring cells that result in abnormal acinar development. Whenever possible, we compare our computational results with known experimental cases of mutant acini.


Development of epithelial tumors Formation of mutant acini Single cell based model Immersed boundary method 


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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarzyna A. Rejniak
    • 1
  • Alexander R. A. Anderson
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of MathematicsUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK

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