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Colloquium: Mechanical formalisms for tissue dynamics

S. Tlili, C. Gay, F. Graner, P. Marcq, F. Molino, and P. Saramito

Eur. Phys. J. E 38, 33-63+115 (2015) [Accès à la revue]

Méthode de construction d'une équation de comportement mécanique d'un tissu comme un matériau continu, et comment incorporer les ingrédients biologiques souhaités : croissance, contractilité, adhésion, etc.

Abstract: The understanding of morphogenesis in living organisms has been renewed by tremendous progress in experimental techniques that provide access to cell-scale, quantitative information both on the shapes of cells within tissues and on the genes being expressed. This information suggests that our understanding of the respective contributions of gene expression and mechanics, and of their crucial entanglement, will soon leap forward. Biomechanics increasingly benefits from models, which assist the design and interpretation of experiments, point out the main ingredients and assumptions, and ultimately lead to predictions. The newly accessible local information thus calls for a reflection on how to select suitable classes of mechanical models. We review both mechanical ingredients suggested by the current knowledge of tissue behaviour, and modelling methods that can help generate a rheological diagram or a constitutive equation. We distinguish cell scale (“intra-cell”) and tissue scale (“inter-cell”) contributions. We recall the mathematical framework developped for continuum materials and explain how to transform a constitutive equation into a set of partial differential equations amenable to numerical resolution. We show that when plastic behaviour is relevant, the dissipation function formalism appears appropriate to generate constitutive equations; its variational nature facilitates numerical implementation, and we discuss adaptations needed in the case of large deformations. The present article gathers theoretical methods that can readily enhance the significance of the data to be extracted from recent or future high throughput biomechanical experiments.

Thème : Développement et tissus

Equipe : Dynamique et Organisation de la Matière Molle (DOMM) (MSC)