The Immune System Behaves Like a Complex System and a Scale-Free Network

Virginia-Folcik Nivar
Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Ohio State University

(May 11, 2006 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM)

The Immune System Behaves Like a Complex System and a Scale-Free Network

Abstract

An agent-based computer simulation has been created to study the complex network behavior of the immune system in a way that is not possible using a living system.?It includes agent and signal representations of all of the basic elements of the immune system, and emulates both normal and pathological immune system behavior in a viral infection scenario.?By designating the agents (cells) as nodes and meaningful interactions between the agents as links, the data generated during the simulated immune response demonstrates behavior like that of a scale-free network with dendritic cell agents as hubs.?The average number of links for each agent type also correlates with their contribution to the success of the immune response.?Modeling the immune system as a scale-free network creates a new window to information that can be used for development of new strategies for manipulating the immune response.