Population mechanics: A mathematical framework to study T cell homeostasis



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Arias, C. and Herrero, Miguel A. and Acosta, F. J. and Fernandez Arias, c. (2017) Population mechanics: A mathematical framework to study T cell homeostasis. Scientific reports, 7 (1). p. 9511. ISSN 2045-2322

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Official URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-09949-w


Unlike other cell types, T cells do not form spatially arranged tissues, but move independently throughout the body. Accordingly, the number of T cells in the organism does not depend on physical constraints imposed by the shape or size of specific organs. Instead, it is determined by competition for interleukins. From the perspective of classical population dynamics, competition for resources seems to be at odds with the observed high clone diversity, leading to the so-called diversity paradox. In this work we make use of population mechanics, a non-standard theoretical approach to T cell homeostasis that accounts for clone diversity as arising from competition for interleukins. The proposed models show that carrying capacities of T cell populations naturally emerge from the balance between interleukins production and consumption. These models also suggest remarkable functional differences in the maintenance of diversity in naïve and memory pools. In particular, the distribution of memory clones would be biased towards clones activated more recently, or responding to more aggressive pathogenic threats. In contrast, permanence of naïve T cell clones would be determined by their affinity for cognate antigens. From this viewpoint, positive and negative selection can be understood as mechanisms to maximize naïve T cell diversity.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Computational models; Immunological memory; Interleukins
Subjects:Sciences > Mathematics > Cybernetics
ID Code:45878
Deposited On:22 Dec 2017 09:11
Last Modified:12 Dec 2018 15:06

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