Simulation of cellular packing in non-proliferative epithelia

Y. Chélin, K. Azzag, P. Cañadas, J. Averseng, S. Baghdiguian, B. Maurin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The physical laws governing the morphogenesis of biological tissues remain largely misunderstood. In particular, the role of the mechanical interactions occurring in this process needs to be better understood and studied. Inner follicular cells surrounding the oocytes of Ciona intestinalis form an epithelial monolayer resulting from an accretion process (without mitosis or apoptosis). This epithelium is elementary and useful for morphogenesis studies: the cells exhibit polygon packing with a specific but non-systematically repeatable topology (i.e. the distribution of pentagons, hexagons and heptagons changes). To understand the role of mechanical forces in tissue formation, we propose an innovative "2D spherical" model based on the physics of divided media. This approach simulates the cellular mechanical behavior and epithelium structuration by allowing cells to adopt a large variety of shapes and to self-organize in response to mechanical interactions. The numerical parameters considered in the model are derived from experimental data in order to perform pertinent and realistic simulations. The results obtained are compared to biological observations using the same counting method to characterize epithelium topology. Numerical and experimental data appear close enough to validate the model. It is then used for exploratory studies dealing with "Tissue Development Speed" variation, which is not easily attainable by experimentation. We show that the formation speed of the tissue influences its topology and hence its packing organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1080
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 5 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomechanical model
  • Cell shape
  • Granular mechanics
  • Morphogenesis
  • Tissue development


Dive into the research topics of 'Simulation of cellular packing in non-proliferative epithelia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this