Spiral wave propagation in communities with spatially correlated heterogeneity
Larkin, Joseph W.
Süel, Gürol M.
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Citation (published version)Xiaoling Zhai, Joseph W Larkin, Gürol M Süel, Andrew Mugler. 2020. "Spiral Wave Propagation in Communities with Spatially Correlated Heterogeneity.." Biophys J, Volume 118, Issue 7, pp. 1721 - 1732. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2020.02.007
Many multicellular communities propagate signals in a directed manner via excitable waves. Cell-to-cell heterogeneity is a ubiquitous feature of multicellular communities, but the effects of heterogeneity on wave propagation are still unclear. Here, we use a minimal FitzHugh-Nagumo-type model to investigate excitable wave propagation in a two-dimensional heterogeneous community. The model shows three dynamic regimes in which waves either propagate directionally, die out, or spiral indefinitely, and we characterize how these regimes depend on the heterogeneity parameters. We find that in some parameter regimes, spatial correlations in the heterogeneity enhance directional propagation and suppress spiraling. However, in other regimes, spatial correlations promote spiraling, a surprising feature that we explain by demonstrating that these spirals form by a second, distinct mechanism. Finally, we characterize the dynamics using techniques from percolation theory. Despite the fact that percolation theory does not completely describe the dynamics quantitatively because it neglects the details of the excitable propagation, we find that it accounts for the transitions between the dynamic regimes and the general dependency of the spiral period on the heterogeneity and thus provides important insights. Our results reveal that the spatial structure of cell-to-cell heterogeneity can have important consequences for signal propagation in cellular communities.