The skin forms an efficient barrier against the environment, and rapid cutaneous wound healing after injury is therefore essential. Healing of the uppermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, involves collective migration of keratinocytes, which requires coordinated polarization of the cells. To study this process, we developed a model that allows analysis of live-cell images of migrating keratinocytes in culture based on a small number of parameters, including the radius of the cells, their mass and their polarization. This computational approach allowed the analysis of cell migration at the front of the wound and a reliable identification and quantification of the impaired polarization and migration of keratinocytes from mice lacking fibroblast growth factors 1 and 2--an established model of impaired healing. Therefore, our modeling approach is suitable for large-scale analysis of migration phenotypes of cells with specific genetic defects or upon treatment with different pharmacological agents.
Fuhr, M. J., Meyer, M., Fehr, E., Ponzio, G., Werner, S., & Herrmann, H. J. (2015). A modeling approach to study the effect of cell polarization on keratinocyte migration. PLoS ONE, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0117676