Universiteit Leiden

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High-throughput simulation studies of angiogenesis - Reverse engineering the role of tip cells and pericytes in vascular development

Promotor: Prof.dr. R.M.H. Merks

M.M. Palm
30 september 2014
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels develop by splitting of or by sprouting from existing vessels. In sprouting angiogenesis vessels branch out and connect with other sprouts to form a new network. This process involves both the endothelial cells, which make up the inner lining of a vessel, and the perivascular cells, which surround the vessel. The collective behavior of these cells results in the formation of sprouts and eventually vascular networks. The cells involved in angiogenesis differ in shape and behavior, which affects their collective behavior. Furthermore, the cells also affect one another via diffusive and membrane bound signaling molecules. In this thesis we aim to understand how interactions between multiple cell-types exhibiting subtle differences in behavior change the resulting collective angiogenic sprouting. To this end, we developed cell-based, computational models of angiogenesis, based on the cellular Potts model. The inputs of these models are the observed or hypothesized behavior of individual cells and the output is the resulting collective cell behavior: e.g., the formation of angiogenic sprouts or vascular networks. By assigning different behavior to a subset of the cells, these models can be used to study the interplay between cell types exhibiting different behavior.

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