Hormonal regulation of ovarian follicle growth in humans: Model-based exploration of cycle variability and parameter sensitivities
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Theoretical Biology. 2022, 547, 111150. 10.1016/j.jtbi.2022.111150
We present a modelling and simulation framework for the dynamics of ovarian follicles and key hormones along the hypothalamic-pituitary–gonadal axis throughout consecutive human menstrual cycles. All simulation results (hormone concentrations and ovarian follicle sizes) are in biological units and can easily be compared to clinical data. The model takes into account variability in follicles’ response to stimulating hormones, which introduces variability between cycles. The growth of ovarian follicles in waves is an emergent property in our model simulations and further supports the hypothesis that follicular waves are also present in humans. We use Approximate Bayesian Computation and cluster analysis to construct a population of virtual subjects and to study parameter distributions and sensitivities. The model can be used to compare and optimize treatment protocols for ovarian hyperstimulation, thus potentially forming the integral part of a clinical decision support system in reproductive endocrinology.