FINITE ELEMENT MODELING OF AXONAL ELONGATION AND USE OF STEM CELLS
M.Obradovic, S.Novak, H.Jorg Meisel, A.Dinnyes, N.Filipovic (UDC: 616.833.2-085 ; 602.9)
The basic function of an axon is to conduct electrical impulses away from the cell body, using special molecular structures. Axons move through their environment via the growth cone, which is placed on the top of the axon, and where the mass is added. When an axon is damaged, there is no information flow. Using stem cells we can accomplish axon repair. Besides stem cells growth, mechanical tension leaves impact on the axonal elongation improvement. We modeled axonal elongation using finite element method. If we apply force at the growth cone with mass adding, the axon will be considered as a material with viscoelastic properties. To achieve a nonlinear elongation along the axon and to include a viscoelastic material in our finite element model, we made a function of Young‘s modulus along the axon. The results show that the axon has a nonlinear elongation as a viscoelastic material. Mass adding is considered as a change of material concentration (diffusion equation). The current model with axon as a viscoelastic material and the calculation of axonal elongation using the diffusion equation is a good approach to an appropriate model of axon. We also numerically analyzed the behavior of stem cells inside the scaffold mixed with hydrogel and collagen fibers in order to simulate nerve repair which goes to the spinal cord. Our goal is to create a model which will give more information about the processes of axon healing and growing, with a good match in comparison with the experimental results.