In this paper, we use both mathematical modeling and simulation to explore homeostasis of peripheral immune system effector cells, particularly alveolar macrophages. Our interest is in the distributed control mechanisms that allow such a population to maintain itself. We introduce a multi-purpose simulator designed to study individual cell responses to local molecular signals and their effects on population dynamics. We use the simulator to develop a model of growth factor regulation of macrophage proliferation and survival. We examine the effects of this form of regulation in the context of two competing hypotheses regarding the source of new alveolar macrophages. In one model, local cells divide to replenish the population; in the other, only cells migrating from circulation divide. We find that either scenario is plausible, although the influx-driven system is inherently more stable. The proliferation-driven system requires lower cell death and efflux rates than the influx-driven system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Environmental Science(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Computational Theory and Mathematics