Cellular mechanosensing of the biophysical microenvironment: A review of mathematical models of biophysical regulation of cell responses.

11 Jul 2018

Cells in vivo reside within complex microenvironments composed of both biochemical and biophysical cues. The dynamic feedback between cells and their microenvironments hinges upon biophysical cues that regulate critical cellular behaviors. Understanding this regulation from sensing to reaction to feedback is therefore critical, and a large effort is afoot to identify and mathematically model the fundamental mechanobiological mechanisms underlying this regulation. This review provides a critical perspective on recent progress in mathematical models for the responses of cells to the biophysical cues in their microenvironments, including dynamic strain, osmotic shock, fluid shear stress, mechanical force, matrix rigidity, porosity, and matrix shape. The review highlights key successes and failings of existing models, and discusses future opportunities and challenges in the field.