How Can We Model the Regulation of Stress Hormones?
Daily and monthly rhythms of hormones are well recognised. Less well known are the more rapid ultradian changes which are a characteristic of most biologically active hormone systems. We have looked at the regulation of the stress hormones – glucocorticoids – secreted by the adrenal glands. It has always been assumed that the episodic release of these hormones was a result of some form of pulse generator in the brain. A dispassionate look at this system however, revealed that there was a feedforward:feedback relationship between the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland providing scope for a peripheral oscillating hormonal system. The background to this system and the biological testing of our mathematical predictions will be described.
Stafford Lightman, University of Bristol, United Kingdom