Optimal Quantification of Contact Inhibition in Cell Populations
Warne DJ., Baker RE., Simpson MJ.
© 2017 Biophysical Society. Contact inhibition refers to a reduction in the rate of cell migration and/or cell proliferation in regions of high cell density. Under normal conditions, contact inhibition is associated with the proper functioning tissues, whereas abnormal regulation of contact inhibition is associated with pathological conditions, such as tumor spreading. Unfortunately, standard mathematical modeling practices mask the importance of parameters that control contact inhibition through scaling arguments. Furthermore, standard experimental protocols are insufficient to quantify the effects of contact inhibition because they focus on data describing early time, low-density dynamics only. Here we use the logistic growth equation as a caricature model of contact inhibition to make recommendations as to how to best mitigate these issues. Taking a Bayesian approach, we quantify the trade off between different features of experimental design and estimates of parameter uncertainty so that we can reformulate a standard cell proliferation assay to provide estimates of both the low-density intrinsic growth rate, λ, and the carrying capacity density, K, which is a measure of contact inhibition.