Computer Modeling to Characterize and Quantify the Secretory Biorhythms of Hypothalamic Hormones
Presented by: Kristopher Spinning
Mentor: Swavik Spiewak
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University

The endocrine system acts as a means of internal communication, coordinating the activities of the organ systems. Within this, the endocrine glands fit into an integrated system wherein the rate of hormone production by one gland is tightly linked with that of another or, often, two others. These hormones regulate the function of certain organs and tissues in the body. There are seven well-defined traditional "feedback loops" of hormones that act in this manner. The HPA axis (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal feedback loop) was chosen for this research. Data from literature defining the relationships between the serum levels of corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH), adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), and cortisol have been analyzed and mathematical models (or sub-systems) which describe the relationships between these hormones have been determined. These sub-systems are now being used to develop a complete system in Simulink, a computer model developing tool, that will simulate the dynamic response of the HPA axis. Subsequent work will include data collection for missing relationships between hormones, determining the mathematical sub-systems for these relationships, and completing the simulation and verification of the entire HPA axis in Simulink.