Deconvolution analysis of hormone data

Johannes D. Veldhuis, Michael L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

250 Scopus citations


This chapter evaluates methods of deconvolution analysis that have been applied to a specific topic in biology—namely, the temporal behavior of hormones, metabolites, and substrates in a sampled fluid compartment, such as blood. Such analyses have a significant place in this area of biology, because the time structure of the hormone, metabolite, or substrate concentration signal conveys important information to the target tissue, yields insights into systems regulation, and subserves the homeostasis of an organism. Deconvolution is a mathematical technique that has been utilized in the physical, applied, and natural sciences as a method for estimating the particular behavior of one or more component processes contributing to an observed outcome. Deconvolution would attempt to reconstruct the initial shock impulse from time records of the remote signal. In the field of spectroscopy, the intensity of an emitted wavelength of light measured at some remote point from the light source is influenced by the energy properties of the initial fluorescent signal and attenuation of the emitted signal as it travels to the point of observation. Deconvolution attempts to recover estimates of the intensity of the original fluorescent discharge. Spontaneous variations in measured concentrations of a metabolite, substrate, or hormone over time are controlled by at least two distinct processes (in addition to effects of “noise” in the system), which are as follows: (1) the rate of entry of the constituent into the blood compartment and (2) the magnitude and type of elimination kinetics serving to remove the compound from the circulation. The measurement of a hormone, metabolite, or substrate in a body fluid is always attended by some degree of assay imprecision, is restrained by some level of assay sensitivity (minimal detectable or limiting hormone concentration), and is subject to some particular specificity (the extent to which the assay correctly reports amounts of the substance of interest, and conversely the extent to which it does not falsely report the presence of other substances).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)539-575
Number of pages37
JournalMethods in enzymology
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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