Modeling T cell proliferation and death in vitro based on labeling data: generalizations of the Smith-Martin cell cycle model

Bull Math Biol. 2008 Jan;70(1):21-44. doi: 10.1007/s11538-007-9239-4. Epub 2007 Aug 15.


The fluorescent dye carboxyfluorescein diacetate succinimidyl ester (CFSE) classifies proliferating cell populations into groups according to the number of divisions each cell has undergone (i.e., its division class). The pulse labeling of cells with radioactive thymidine provides a means to determine the distribution of times of entry into the first cell division. We derive in analytic form the number of cells in each division class as a function of time based on the distribution of times to the first division. Choosing the distribution of time to the first division to fit thymidine labeling data for T cells stimulated in vitro under different concentrations of IL-2, we fit CFSE data to determine the dependence of T cell kinetic parameters on the concentration of IL-2. As the concentration of IL-2 increases, the average cell cycle time is shortened, the death rate of cells is decreased, and a higher fraction of cells is recruited into division. We also find that if the average cell cycle time increases with division class then the qualify of our fit to the data improves.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Count
  • Cell Cycle / immunology
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Models, Immunological*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*