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Hopf bifurcation in a model of TGF-$\beta$ in regulation of the Th 17 phenotype

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  • Airway exposure of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is shown to regulate type I and type II helper T cell induced asthma. While high doses of LPS derive Th1- or Th17-immune responses, low LPS levels lead to Th2 responses. In this paper, we analyze a mathematical model of Th1/Th2/Th17 asthma regulation suggested by Lee (S. Lee, H.J. Hwang, and Y. Kim, Modeling the role of TGF-$\beta$ in regulation of the Th17 phenotype in the LPS-driven immune system, Bull Math Biol., 76 (5), 1045-1080, 2014) and show that the system can undergo a Hopf bifurcation at a steady state of the Th17 phenotype for high LPS levels in the presence of time delays in inhibition pathways of two key regulators: IL-4/Th2 activities ($H$) and TGF-$\beta$ levels ($G$). The time delays affect the phenotypic switches among the Th1, Th2, and Th17 phenotypes in response to time-dependent LPS doses via nonlinear crosstalk between $H$ and $G$. An extended reaction-diffusion model also predicts coexistence of these phenotypes under various biochemical and bio-mechanical conditions in the heterogeneous microenvironment.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 92C45, 92C50; Secondary: 92B05.

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