Hierarchical modelling of acclimatory processes

Sitaramam, V. ; Rao, N. J. (1977) Hierarchical modelling of acclimatory processes Journal of Theoretical Biology, 67 (1). pp. 25-47. ISSN 0022-5193

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Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0022-5193(77)90183-7


The term acclimation has been used with several connotations in the field of acclimatory physiology. An attempt has been made, in this paper, to define precisely the term "acclimation" for effective modelling of acclimatory processes. Acclimation is defined with respect to a specific variable, as cumulative experience gained by the organism when subjected to a step change in the environment. Experimental observations on a large number of variables in animals exposed to sustained stress, show that after initial deviation from the basal value (defined as "growth"), the variables tend to return to basal levels (defined as "decay"). This forms the basis for modelling biological responses in terms of their growth and decay. Hierarchical systems theory as presented by Mesarovic, Macko & Takahara (1970) facilitates modelling of complex and partially characterized systems. This theory, in conjunction with "growth-decay" analysis of biological variables, is used to model temperature regulating system in animals exposed to cold. This approach appears to be applicable at all levels of biological organization. Regulation of hormonal activity which forms a part of the temperature regulating system, and the relationship of the latter with the "energy" system of the animal of which it forms a part, are also effectively modelled by this approach. It is believed that this systematic approach would eliminate much of the current circular thinking in the area of acclimatory physiology.

Item Type:Article
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