The mechanical properties of a cell-based numerical model of epithelium
In this work we use a computational cell-based model to study the influence of the mechanical properties of cells on the mechanics of epithelial tissues. We analyze the effect of the model parameters on the elasticity and the mechanical response of tissues subjected to stress loading application. We compare our numerical results with experimental measurements of epithelial cell monolayer mechanics. Unlike previous studies, we have been able to estimate in physical units the parameter values that match the experimental results. A key observation is that the model parameters must vary with the tissue strain. In particular, it was found that, while the perimeter contractility and the area elasticity of cells remain constant at lower strains (<20%), they must increase to respond to larger strains (>20%). However, above a threshold of 50% extension, the cells stop counteracting the tissue strain and reduce both their perimeter contractility and area elasticity.