Journal Article

Modelling host tissue degradation by extracellular bacterial pathogens

J. R. King, A. J. Koerber, J. M. Croft, J. P. Ward, P. Williams and R. E. Sockett

in Mathematical Medicine and Biology: A Journal of the IMA

Published on behalf of Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

Volume 20, issue 3, pages 227-260
Published in print September 2003 | ISSN: 1477-8599
Published online September 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-8602 | DOI:
Modelling host tissue degradation by extracellular bacterial pathogens

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  • Applied Mathematics
  • Biomathematics and Statistics


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Extracellular bacterial pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa are able to penetrate into host tissues (given an initial breech in the outer barrier, e.g. a wound) through the action of exo‐toxins and degradative exo‐enzymes. A mathematical model of this process is presented which, in the absence of significant immune response, predicts the progression of the bacteria into the tissue as a travelling wave whose velocity can be determined explicitly in terms of the model parameters. Simple in vitro experiments in protein‐based matrices are performed which yield results consistent with this behaviour. A complementary in vitro experimental system with distinct qualitative behaviour is also studied, giving further insight and confidence in the modelling approach.

Keywords: bacterial infection; tissue degradation; travelling wave; moving boundary; sharp interface limit

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Applied Mathematics ; Biomathematics and Statistics

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