Dynamical compensation and structural identifiability of biological models: Analysis, implications, and reconciliation

Alejandro F. Villaverde, Julio R. Banga, Herbert Sauro
2017 PLoS Computational Biology  
The concept of dynamical compensation has been recently introduced to describe the ability of a biological system to keep its output dynamics unchanged in the face of varying parameters. Here we show that, according to its original definition, dynamical compensation is equivalent to lack of structural identifiability. This is relevant if model parameters need to be estimated, which is often the case in biological modelling. This realization prompts us to warn that care should we taken when
more » ... an unidentifiable model to extract biological insight: the estimated values of structurally unidentifiable parameters are meaningless, and model predictions about unmeasured state variables can be wrong. Taking this into account, we explore alternative definitions of dynamical compensation that do not necessarily imply structural unidentifiability. Accordingly, we show different ways in which a model can be made identifiable while exhibiting dynamical compensation. Our analyses enable the use of the new concept of dynamical compensation in the context of parameter identification, and reconcile it with the desirable property of structural identifiability.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005878 pmid:29186132 pmcid:PMC5724898 fatcat:v4n3cy4qgjhyjoir222nrflqz4