Angela Reynolds
Mathematical models of the acute immune response

Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) is a common cause of death in intensive care unit patients. MODS is characterized by sequential organ failure caused by an overactive immune system. We have developed multiple models to facilitate our understanding MODS. We focused on the acute immune response, which is the generic initial immune response.
We first derived a small scale model for the acute inflammation to understand simple dynamics between pro- and anti-inflammation. We use this reduced model to explore the role of anti-inflammatory mediators, which were once hypothesized as a treatment for MODS with less success than predicted.
We expanded this model into two more complex models. The first model takes in account the interactions between the tissue and blood, which are essential during an inflammatory response. This model is a minimum model for an organ. Therefore, we used this model to explore the spread of inflammation between organs by linking two tissues units to the same blood supply.
The second models the effects of inflammation on gas exchange in the lung. The lung is typically the first organ to fail during MODS. Therefore, we have developed a model of the lung by first modeling a single respiratory unit (~25 alveoli) with inflammatory effects and then linking multiple respiratory units under various anatomical conditions.

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