In this paper, we present a two-population continuous integro-differential model of cell differentiation, using a non-local term to describe the influence of the local environment on differentiation. We investigate three different versions of the model, with differentiation being cell autonomous, regulated via a community effect, or weakly dependent on the local cellular environment. We consider the spatial patterns that such different modes of differentiation produce, and investigate the formation of both stripes and spots by the model. We show that pattern formation only occurs when differentiation is regulated by a strong community effect. In this case, permanent spatial patterns only occur under a precise relationship between the parameters characterising cell dynamics, although transient patterns can persist for biologically relevant timescales when this condition is relaxed. In all cases, the long-lived patterns consist only of stripes, not spots. © Society for Mathematical Biology 2010.
- Community effect
- Integro-differential equation
- Mathematical model
- Pattern formation