A macroscopic mathematical model for cell migration assays using a real-time cell analysis

Ezio Di Costanzo, Vincenzo Ingangi, Claudia Angelini, Maria Francesca Carfora, Maria Vincenza Carriero, Roberto Natalini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experiments of cell migration and chemotaxis assays have been classically performed in the so-called Boyden Chambers. A recent technology, xCELLigence Real Time Cell Analysis, is now allowing to monitor the cell migration in real time. This technology measures impedance changes caused by the gradual increase of electrode surface occupation by cells during the course of time and provide a Cell Index which is proportional to cellular morphology, spreading, ruffling and adhesion quality as well as cell number. In this paper we propose a macroscopic mathematical model, based on advection-reaction-diffusion partial differential equations, describing the cell migration assay using the real-time technology. We carried out numerical simulations to compare simulated model dynamics with data of observed biological experiments on three different cell lines and in two experimental settings: absence of chemotactic signals (basal migration) and presence of a chemoattractant. Overall we conclude that our minimal mathematical model is able to describe the phenomenon in the real time scale and numerical results show a good agreement with the experimental evidences.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0162553
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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