SIAM Undergraduate Research Online

Volume 2, Issue 1


Tubuloglomerular Feedback-Mediated Dynamics in Three Coupled Nephrons

Published electronically March 31, 2009
DOI: 10.1137/08S010165

Author: Tracy L. Stepien (State University of New York)
Sponsor: E. Bruce Pitman (State University of New York)

Abstract: A model of three coupled nephrons branching from a common cortical radial artery is developed to further understand the effects of equal and unequal coupling on tubuloglomerular feedback. The integral model of Pitman et al. (2002), which describes the fluid flow up the thick ascending limb of a single, short-looped nephron of the mammalian kidney, is extended to a system of three nephrons through a model of coupling proposed by Pitman et al. (2004). Analysis of the system, verified by numerical results, indicates that stable limit-cycle oscillations emerge for sufficiently large feedback gain magnitude and time delay through a Hopf bifurcation, similar to the single nephron model, yet generally at lower values. Previous work has demonstrated that coupling induces oscillations at lower values of gain, relative to uncoupled nephrons. The current analysis extends this earlier finding by showing that asymmetric coupling among nephrons further increases the likelihood of the model nephron system being in an oscillatory state.