"Computational Modeling of Neural Stem Cell Migration"
Neural stem cells (NSCs) have been shown to be a promising treatment for various brain pathologies due to their ability to migrate directly to the target site, repair damaged tissue, and deliver therapeutic agents. However, the efficacy of such treatments relies on the number and timing of viable cells that are able to reach the injury site. These factors are greatly influenced by different injection strategies as well the complex cytokine dynamics within the brain. For instance, intracranial injections are highly invasive but can be administered next to the site, while intranasal injections can be administered multiple times but require the cells to travel from the olfactory bulb. Furthermore, NSC’s sensitivity to chemoattractants within the brain can alter the path taken and allow for more robust migration. To understand and test the mechanisms that govern NSC migration in a cost effective manner, we build a probabilistic model which accounts for crossing white matter tracts and chemotaxis within the settings of naive rat/mouse brain and TBI. We then use the model to predict the migratory paths in response to different injection strategies/timings as well as explore possible combination therapies to increase NSC arrival rates.
Additional authors: Heyrim Cho; Russell Rockne; Margarita Gutova; Vikram Adhikarla; Mari Amirbekyan