Multiscale mathematical modeling of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis

Abstract : Although the fields of systems and integrative biology are in full expansion, few teams are involved worldwide into the study of reproductive function from the mathematical modeling viewpoint. This may be due to the fact that the reproductive function is not compulsory for individual organism survival, even if it is for species survival. Alternatively, the complexity of reproductive physiology may be discouraging. Indeed, the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis involves not only several organs and tissues, but also intricate time (from the neuronal millisecond timescale to circannual rhythmicity) and space (from molecules to organs) scales. Yet, mathematical modeling, and especially multiscale modeling, can renew our approaches of the molecular, cellular and physiological processes underlying the control of reproductive functions. In turn, the remarkable dynamic features exhibited by the HPG axis raise intriguing and challenging questions to modelers and applied mathematicians. In this article, we draw a panoramic review of some mathematical models designed in the framework of the female HPG, with a special focus on the gonadal and central control of follicular development. On the gonadal side, the modeling of follicular development calls to the generic formalism of structured cell populations, that allows one to make mechanistic links between the control of cell fate (proliferation, differentiation or apoptosis) and that of the follicle fate (ovulation or degeneration) or to investigate how the functional interactions between the oocyte and its surrounding cells shape the follicle morphogenesis. On the central, mainly hypothalamic side, models based on dynamical systems with multiple timescales allow one to represent within a single framework both the pulsatile and surge patterns of the neurohormone GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone). Beyond their interest in basic research investigations, mathematical models can also be at the source of useful tools to study the encoding and decoding of the (neuro-)hormonal signals at play within the HPG axis and detect complex, possibly hidden rhythms, in experimental time series.
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Dernière modification le : mardi 20 décembre 2016 - 17:27:03
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Frédérique Clément. Multiscale mathematical modeling of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis. Theriogenology, Elsevier, 2016, 86 (1), pp.11-21. 〈10.1016/j.theriogenology.2016.04.063〉. 〈hal-01334304〉

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