Abstract for:Modeling the Biological Mechanisms That Determine the Dynamics of Stress Response of the Human Body

The dynamic stress response of the human body to stressors is produced by nonlinear interactions among its physiological subsystems. The evolutionary function of the response is to enable the body to cope with stress. However, depending on the level, duration, and frequency of the stressors, the mechanism may lose its function and the body can go into a pathological state. Three subsystems of the body play the most essential role in the stress response: endocrine, immune and neural systems. We construct a simulation model of these three subsystems to imitate the stress response dynamics under different types of external stimuli. Using both qualitative and quantitative physiological data, the model is structurally and behaviorally well-validated. In subsequent scenario runs, we have successfully replicated the development of stress related abnormalities in the body. Major depression, response sensitivity change as a result of earlier stress experience, and cytokine-induced sickness behavior are the real life cases we simulate in this study. The model can present quantitative representation of well acknowledged qualitative hypotheses about the stress response. This is a novel quantitative step towards the comprehension of stress response in relation with other disorders, and it provides us with a tool to design treatment methods.