We present a computational model for the interaction of surface- and volume-bound scalar transport and reaction processes with a deformable porous medium. The application in mind is pericellular proteolysis, i.e. the dissolution of the solid phase of the extracellular matrix (ECM) as a response to the activation of certain chemical species at the cell membrane and in the vicinity of the cell. A poroelastic medium model represents the extra cellular scaffold and the interstitial fluid flow, while a surface-bound transport model accounts for the diffusion and reaction of membrane-bound chemical species. By further modelling the volume-bound transport, we consider the advection, diffusion and reaction of sequestered chemical species within the extracellular scaffold. The chemo-mechanical coupling is established by introducing a continuum formulation for the interplay of reaction rates and the mechanical state of the ECM. It is based on known experimental insights and theoretical work on the thermodynamics of porous media and degradation kinetics of collagen fibres on the one hand and a damage-like effect of the fibre dissolution on the mechanical integrity of the ECM on the other hand. The resulting system of partial differential equations is solved via the finite-element method. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first computational model including contemporaneously the coupling between (i) advection–diffusion–reaction processes, (ii) interstitial flow and deformation of a porous medium, and (iii) the chemo-mechanical interaction impelled by the dissolution of the ECM. Our numerical examples show good agreement with experimental data. Furthermore, we outline the capability of the methodology to extend existing numerical approaches towards a more comprehensive model for cellular biochemo-mechanics.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3699064.
- Received November 2, 2016.
- Accepted February 3, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.