Desynchronization rate in cell populations: Mathematical modeling and experimental data

G. Chiorino, J. A J Metz, D. Tomasoni, P. Ubezio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We characterize the kinetics of two cancer cell lines: IGROV1 (ovarian carcinoma) and MOLT4 (leukemia). By means of flow cytometry, we selected two populations from exponentially growing in vitro cell lines, depending on the cells' DNA synthesis activity during a preceding labeling period. For these populations we determined the time course of the percentages of cells in different phases of the cycles, sampling every 3 hr for 60 hr. Initially, semi-synchronous populations quickly converged to a stable age distribution, which is typical of the cell line (at equilibrium); this desynchronization reflects the intercell variability in cell cycle duration. By matching these experimental observations to mathematical modelling, we related the convergence rate toward the asymptotic distribution (R) and the period of the phase-percentage oscillations (T), to the mean cell cycle duration and its coefficient of variation. We give two formulas involving the above-mentioned parameters. Since T and R can be drawn by fitting our data to an asymptotic formula obtained from the model, we can estimate the other two kinetic parameters. IGROV1 cells have a shorter mean cell cycle time, but higher intercell variability than the leukemia line, which takes longer to lose synchrony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 21 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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