Growth cone pathfinding: A competition between deterministic and stochastic events

Susan M. Maskery, Helen M. Buettner, Troy Shinbrot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background: Growth cone migratory patterns show evidence of both deterministic and stochastic search modes. Results: We quantitatively examine how these two different migration modes affect the growth cone's pathfinding response, by simulating growth cone contact with a repulsive cue and measuring the resultant turn angle. We develop a dimensionless number, we call the determinism ratio Ψ, to define the ratio of deterministic to stochastic influences driving the growth cone's migration in response to an external guidance cue. We find that the growth cone can exhibit three distinct types of turning behaviors depending on the magnitude of Ψ. Conclusions: We conclude, within the context of these in silico studies, that only when deterministic and stochastic migration factors are in balance (i.e. Ψ ∼ 1) can the growth cone respond constructively to guidance cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalBMC neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 8 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neuroscience(all)


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