In healthy blood vessels with a laminar blood flow, the endothelial cell division rate is low, only sufficient to replace dead cells. The division rate significantly increases during embryonic development and under halted or turbulent flow, as for instance around a blood clot. Cells in barrier tissue such as a blood vessel are tightly connected and their motility is highly correlated. We investigated the long-range dynamics induced by cell division in an endothelial monolayer under non-flow conditions, mimicking the conditions during vessel formation or around blood clots. Cell divisions induce long-range, well-ordered vortex patterns extending several cell diameters away from the division site, which is rather surprising considering the system’s low Reynolds number. Our experimental results are reproduced by a hydrodynamic continuum model simulating division as a local pressure increase corresponding to a local tension decrease in a meso-scale turbulent state. Our finding that a cell division gives rise to long-range-well-ordered hydrodynamic structures in the tissue signifies that information can be communicated over large distance. Our modeling supports that this long-range tissue communication can be understood on the basis of physics alone, no biochemical signaling needs to be involved. Such long-range physical communication may be crucial for embryonic development and for healing endothelial tissue in blood vessels.
Argonne Physics Division Colloquium Schedule