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Title: Mathematical modelling of the dynamics of ovarian follicle development in the mouse and in the human
Author: Lim, Teck Por
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
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The ovary is the female reproductive organ where the egg cells are stored, and where hormones are produced. A follicle is a cell aggregation in the ovary which consists of an egg (oocyte) and supporting cells. Throughout the life of each woman, follicles initiate growth, moving from the primordial stage to the primary stage. Subsequently they move to the secondary stage, and then to the tertiary stage. Consequently an understanding of the mechanisms of initiation and development of follicles is of fundamental importance. It may also be helpful to the many women in which the process does not proceed properly; this may be useful for the treatment of infertility in females, and also the in vitro maturation of follicles. The main contribution of this thesis is in the discovery of novel scaling relationships in the human and in the mouse, between primordial follicles and growing follicles. These scaling relationships suggest that the number of follicles entering the growing pool is not constant over time, and yet they also suggest that the proportion of growing follicles to primordial follicles increases as age Increases. ODE models are used in this work; they are models comprising Ordinary Differential Equations, which are equations containing functions of one independent variable (in this case, time) and derivatives of these functions. The scaling relationships are used to simplify ODE models of the dynamics of initiation and atresia (degeneration). A relationship between the rate of initiation and the rate of atresia is predicted. Furthermore. interesting biological questions can be asked. If initiation is controlled by signals (hormones, growth factors, etc), are they the same throughout life, or is there evidence for different mechanisms in the mature adult, and prior to the menopause?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available