Feedback-mediated dynamics in a model of a compliant thick ascending limb.
The tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF) system in the kidney, which is a key regulator of filtration rate, has been shown in physiologic experiments in rats to mediate oscillations in tubular fluid pressure and flow, and in NaCl concentration in the tubular fluid of the thick ascending limb (TAL). In this study, we developed a mathematical model of the TGF system that represents NaCl transport along a TAL with compliant walls. The model was used to investigate the dynamic behaviors of the TGF system. A bifurcation analysis of the TGF model equations was performed by deriving and finding roots of the characteristic equation, which arises from a linearization of the model equations. Numerical simulations of the full model equations were conducted to assist in the interpretation of the bifurcation analysis. These techniques revealed a complex parameter region that allows a variety of qualitatively different model solutions: a regime having one stable, time-independent steady-state solution; regimes having one stable oscillatory solution only; and regimes having multiple possible stable oscillatory solutions. Model results suggest that the compliance of the TAL walls increases the tendency of the model TGF system to oscillate.
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