\documentclass[reqno]{amsart} \usepackage{hyperref} \AtBeginDocument{{\noindent\small \emph{Electronic Journal of Differential Equations}, Vol. 2010(2010), No. 115, pp. 1--10.\newline ISSN: 1072-6691. URL: http://ejde.math.txstate.edu or http://ejde.math.unt.edu \newline ftp ejde.math.txstate.edu} \thanks{\copyright 2010 Texas State University - San Marcos.} \vspace{8mm}} \begin{document} \title[\hfilneg EJDE-2010/115\hfil Model for T cells and macrophages] {Analysis of a mathematical model for interactions between T cells and macrophages} \author[A. D. Rendall \hfil EJDE-2010/115\hfilneg] {Alan D. Rendall} \address{Alan D. Rendall \newline Max-Planck-Institut f\"ur Gravitationsphysik\\ Albert-Einstein-Institut\\ Am M\"uhlenberg 1\\ 14476 Potsdam, Germany} \email{rendall@aei.mpg.de} \thanks{Submitted August 5, 2010. Published August 19, 2010.} \subjclass[2000]{37N25, 92C37} \keywords{Dynamical systems; qualitative behaviour; immunology} \begin{abstract} The aim of this article is to carry out a mathematical analysis of a system of ordinary differential equations introduced by Lev Bar-Or to model the interactions between T cells and macrophages. Under certain restrictions on the parameters of the model, theorems are proved about the number of stationary solutions and their stability. In some cases the existence of periodic solutions or heteroclinic cycles is ruled out. Evidence is presented that the same biological phenomena could be equally well described by a simpler model. \end{abstract} \maketitle \numberwithin{equation}{section} \newtheorem{theorem}{Theorem}[section] \section{Introduction} Autoimmune diseases result in a great deal of suffering for affected individuals and huge costs for society. Notable examples are multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type I diabetes. In these diseases the ability of the immune system to distinguish between self and non-self is compromised, with the result that host tissues are attacked and damaged. It is important to get a better understanding of the processes involved and one way to do so is to introduce theoretical models of the immune system, in particular mathematical models. There has been a lot of work on mathematical modelling of interactions of the immune system with pathogens. See for instance \cite{perelson99} and the book of Nowak and May \cite{nowak} which concentrate on the case of HIV and present various models. Some deeper mathematical analysis of these models can be found in \cite{deleenheer03}, \cite{korobeinikov04} and \cite{egami09}. Autoimmune diseases do not need to involve any pathogens, although pathogens might contribute to them indirectly, for instance by molecular mimicry \cite{oldstone}. For this reason it would be interesting to have models for the intrinsic workings of the immune system where non-self antigens play no direct role, in the sense that they are not included among the dynamical variables. Apparently few models of this type exist in the literature. One example is introduced in a paper of Lev Bar-Or \cite{levbaror}. It is a system of four ordinary differential equations which describes the interactions of T cells and macrophages by means of the cytokines they produce. The aim of this paper is to investigate what can be said about the properties of the solutions of this system on the level of mathematical proofs. Some relevant concepts from immunology will now be introduced. For a comprehensive introduction to the subject see \cite{murphy}. T cells are white blood cells which mature in the thymus. One type of T cell, the T helper cell, helps to direct the activity of other immune cells. These cells are also known as CD4${}^+$ since they carry the surface molecule CD4. T cells communicate with other cells by secreting soluble substances known as cytokines. Another important type of blood cell is the macrophage which ingests pathogens and cell debris through phagocytosis. Macrophages also secrete cytokines. Both T cells and macrophages react in various ways to the cytokines which are present in their surroundings. The list of known cytokines is long and each of them has its own characteristics in terms of which types of cells secrete it and what effects it has on cells which detect its presence. An idea of the complexity of this signalling system can be obtained from \cite{levbaror}. It is common to distinguish between two types of T helper cells, known as Th1 and Th2, according to the cytokines they produce. There may be overlaps but roughly speaking it may be supposed that there is one set of cytokines (e.g. interferon $\gamma$) which are called type 1 and are produced by Th1 cells and another (e.g. interleukin 4) called type 2 which are produced by Th2 cells. Macrophages produce cytokines of both types. The basic quantities in the equations of \cite{levbaror} are average concentrations corresponding to type 1 and type 2 cytokines produced by T cells and macrophages. These four concentrations are denoted by $C^T_1$, $C^T_2$, $C^M_1$ and $C^M_2$. The populations of different cell types do not occur directly in the system. The quantities which have a chance of being measured directly are $C_1=\frac12(C^T_1+C_1^M)$ and $C_2=\frac12(C^T_2+C_2^M)$. There are cases where the immune response is dominated by either Th1 or Th2 cells. This may be important in order to effectively combat a particular pathogen. For instance a sufficiently strong Th1 response is necessary for containing or eliminating a tuberculosis infection \cite{wigginton}, \cite{marino}. An inappropriate balance between these two states can also contribute to autoimmune disorders. It has, for instance, been suggested that multiple sclerosis is associated with an immune response which is biased towards Th1. See \cite{lassmann} for a critical review of this idea. In the context of the model it is said that there is Th1 or Th2 dominance if $C_1>C_2$ or $C_2>C_1$, respectively. Another important function of macrophages which plays a role in the model of \cite{levbaror} is the presentation of antigens. Small peptides which result from the digestion of material taken up by a macrophage are presented on its surface in conjunction with MHC II molecules. (Major histocompatibility complex of class II.) This can stimulate T cells which come into contact with the macrophage. It has not been possible to give a complete analysis of the dynamics of the system of \cite{levbaror}. A certain inequality on the parameters of the system gives rise to a regime where there is a unique stationary solution which acts as an attractor for all solutions as $t\to\infty$. This is proved in Theorem \ref{thm1}. For a more restricted set of parameters it is possible to show (Theorem \ref{thm2}) that each solution converges to a stationary solution which in general depends on the solution considered. With further restrictions on the parameters it is shown that there are between one and three stationary solutions and the subsets of parameters for which different numbers of stationary solutions occur are described. This is the content of Theorem \ref{thm3}. In Theorems \ref{thm2} and \ref{thm3} the coefficients describing antigen presentation are set to zero. One situation where information can be obtained on the dynamics including antigen presentation is analysed in Theorem \ref{thm4}. The analysis which has been done has uncovered no evidence that the inclusion of the effect of macrophages makes an essential difference to the behaviour of solutions. The types of qualitative behaviour which have been proved to occur in this paper and those which are shown in the figures in \cite{levbaror} can be found in a truncated system which only includes the effect of T cells. This is discussed in section \ref{Tcellonly}. \section{Analysis of the dynamical system} In what follows it will be convenient to use a notation which is more concise than that of \cite{levbaror}. Let $x_1$, $x_2$, $x_3$, $x_4$, $z_1$ and $z_2$ denote $C^T_1$, $C^T_2$, $C^M_1$, $C^M_2$, $x_1+x_3$ and $x_2+x_4$ respectively. The basic dynamical system is: $$\label{basic} \frac{dx_i}{dt}=-d_ix_i+g(h_i);\quad i=1,2,3,4.$$ The $d_i$ are positive constants. The function $g$ is given by $$g(x)=\frac12 (1+\tanh (x-\theta))$$ where $\theta$ is a constant. It satisfies the relations $g(x+\theta)+g(-x+\theta)=1$ and $g'(x)=2g(x)(1-g(x))$. Hence $g(\theta)=1/2$ and $g'(\theta)=1/2$. The functions $h_i$ are defined by $h_i=\sum_{j}a_{ij}x_j$ for some constants $a_{ij}$. The coefficients in \eqref{basic} satisfy the following conditions \begin{enumerate} \item $a_{ij}=b_{ij}+c_{ij}$, $i=1,2$, for some coefficients $b_{ij}$ and $c_{ij}$ \item $b_{1j}=-b_{2j}$ for all $j$. \item $b_{11}>0$, $b_{13}>0$, $b_{12}<0$ and $b_{14}<0$ \item The ratio $c_{2j}/c_{1j}$ is independent of $j$ and positive. \item $c_{11}>0$ and $c_{13}>0$ \item $a_{3j}=-a_{4j}$ for all $j$ \item $a_{31}>0$, $a_{33}>0$, $a_{32}<0$, $a_{34}<0$ \end{enumerate} The sign conditions encode the fact that the effect of type 1 cytokines on cells is to increase their production of type 1 cytokines and to decrease their production of type 2 cytokines, while the effect of type 2 cytokines is exactly the opposite. The coefficients $c_{ij}$ encode the effects of antigen presentation. This is the only role of antigens in the model and the intensity of stimulus due to antigen is not a dynamical degree of freedom in the model. No assumption is made on the signs of $c_{12}$ and $c_{14}$. There are eighteen parameters in the model which are only constrained by some positivity conditions. The quantities $z_1$ and $z_2$ represent total concentrations of type 1 and type 2 cytokines. The biologically relevant region $\mathcal B$ is that where all the $x_i$ are non-negative. The function $g$ is strictly positive. Hence if one of the variables $x_i$ vanishes at some time its derivative at that time is strictly positive. It follows that $\mathcal B$ is positively invariant under the evolution defined by the system. If some $x_i$ is greater than or equal to $d^{-1}_i$ on some time interval then $x_i$ is decreasing at a uniform rate during that time. It follows that all solutions exist globally to the future and enter the region ${\mathcal B}_1$ defined by the inequalities $x_i\le d^{-1}_i$ after finite time. Thus in order to study the late-time behaviour of any solution starting in $\mathcal B$ it is enough to consider solutions starting in ${\mathcal B}_1$. In fact any solution enters the interior of ${\mathcal B}_1$ after finite time. \begin{theorem} \label{thm1} For any value of the parameters the system \eqref{basic} has at least one stationary solution. If $$\label{contractive} \sup_i\sum_j |a_{ij}|< 2\inf_i d_i.$$ then there is only one stationary solution and all solutions converge to it as $t\to\infty$. \end{theorem} \begin{proof} That the system always has at least one stationary solution follows from the Brouwer fixed point theorem, cf. \cite[Theorem I.8.2]{hale}. A stationary solution of the system satisfies $$x_i=d_i^{-1}g(h_i).$$ To prove the second part of the theorem consider the estimate \begin{aligned} |d_i^{-1}g(h_i(y))-d_i^{-1}g(h_i(x))| &\le (2d_i)^{-1}|h_i(y)-h_i(x)|\\ &\le (2d_i)^{-1}\sum_j |a_{ij}||y_j-x_j|. \end{aligned} The first of these inequalities uses the mean value theorem and the fact the derivative of $g$ is nowhere greater than one half. If \eqref{contractive} holds then the mapping $\{x_i\}\mapsto \{d_i^{-1}g(h_i)\}$ maps ${\mathcal B}_1$ to itself and is a contraction in the maximum norm. Hence it has a unique fixed point. It follows that when the coefficients of the system satisfy the restriction \eqref{contractive} the system has exactly one stationary solution. If $x(t)$ and $y(t)$ are two solutions then under the assumption \eqref{contractive} it can be shown that $|x-y|$ decays exponentially as $t\to\infty$. Thus all solutions converge to the unique stationary solution as $t\to\infty$. A related statement is that if $x_*$ is the unique stationary solution then $|x-x_*|^2$ is a Lyapunov function. \end{proof} A limiting case of \eqref{basic} is that where all $c_{ij}$ vanish. This will be called the zero MHC system. The pattern of signs in the coefficients in the zero MHC system is such that the change of variables $\tilde x_i=(-1)^{i+1}x_i$ leads to a system $\frac{d\tilde x_i}{dt}=f(\tilde x_j)$ satisfying $\frac{\partial f_i}{\partial \tilde x_j}> 0$ for all $i\ne j$. This means that the dynamical system for the $\tilde x_i$ is cooperative \cite{hirsch}. This pattern of signs corresponds to what is referred to as a \lq community with limited competition\rq\ or \lq competing subcommunities of mutualists\rq\ in \cite{smith86}. It implies, using the Perron-Frobenius theorem, that the linearization at any point of the vector field defining \eqref{basic} has a real eigenvalue of multiplicity one which is greater than the modulus of any other eigenvalue. Notice that in the special case of the zero MHC system where all $d_i$ are equal to $d$ the linearization has two eigenvalues equal to $-d$. As a consequence all the eigenvalues of the linearization must be real in this case. It is not clear how these facts about the eigenvalue structure can be used to help to understand the dynamics. The condition on the coefficients $d_i$, which says that the rate of degradation of different cytokines is exactly equal, would not be true with biologically motivated parameters. Nevertheless it is not unreasonable to assume that these coefficients are approximately equal and that the model with equal coefficients is not a bad approximation to the situation to be modelled. An assumption of this type is made in the model of \cite{marino}. Call the system obtained by assuming $c_{ij}=0$, $d_1=d_2$, $d_3=d_4$ and $\theta=0$ in \eqref{basic} System 2 while \eqref{basic} itself is System 1. The condition $\theta=0$ implies that $g(x)+g(-x)=1$. Adding the equations for $i=1$ and $i=2$ then gives $$\frac{d}{dt}(x_1+x_2)=-d_1(x_1+x_2)+1.$$ Similarly $$\frac{d}{dt}(x_3+x_4)=-d_3(x_3+x_4)+1.$$ These equations can easily be analysed. An invariant manifold $S_1$ is defined by $x_1+x_2=d_1^{-1}$ and $x_3+x_4=d_3^{-1}$. Substituting this back into the full system gives a two-dimensional system written out below which will be called System 3. The $\omega$-limit set of any solution of System 2 is contained in the invariant manifold $S_1$. Passing from System 1 to System 3 means setting some parameters to zero and then restricting to a two-dimensional invariant manifold of the resulting system. System 3 may not include all the most interesting dynamics exhibited by solutions of the system of \cite{levbaror} but can be perturbed to get information about cases where the effect of the MHC is small but non-zero. The phase portrait of System 2 follows immediately from that of System 3. The explicit form of System 3 is \begin{gather}\label{system3} \frac{dx_1}{dt}=-d_1 x_1+g((a_{11}-a_{12})x_1 +(a_{13}-a_{14})x_3+a_{12}d_1^{-1}+a_{14}d_3^{-1})\\ \frac{dx_3}{dt}=-d_3 x_3+g((a_{31}-a_{32})x_1 +(a_{33}-a_{34})x_3+a_{32}d_1^{-1}+a_{34}d_3^{-1}) \end{gather} Note that the coefficients of $x_1$ and $x_3$ in these equations which are linear combinations of the $a_{ij}$ are all positive. The constant terms are negative. This is a cooperative system. This fact together with the fact that the dimension of the system is two implies that each solution converges to a limit as $t\to\infty$ \cite{hirsch}. In other words the $\omega$-limit set of each solution is a single point. Furthermore, there are no homoclinic orbits or heteroclinic cycles. What is not clear in general is how many stationary solutions there are. Some of the conclusions of the above discussion can be summarized as follows. \begin{theorem} \label{thm2} If $c_{ij}=0$ for all $i$, $j$, $d_1=d_2$, $d_3=d_4$ and $\theta=0$ then every solution of \eqref{basic} converges to a stationary solution satisfying $x_1+x_2=d_1^{-1}$ and $x_3+x_4=d_3^{-1}$ as $t\to\infty$. There are no homoclinic orbits or heteroclinic cycles. \end{theorem} Consider now the special case of System 3 obtained by setting $a_{1j}=a_{3j}$ for all $j$ and $d_1=d_3$. Call it System 4. This corresponds to the assumptions that the T cells and macrophages have identical properties with respect to their death rate and their interactions with cytokines. This system consists of two copies of a single equation. The quantity $x_1-x_3$ decays exponentially. The further assumption $x_1=x_3$ on the initial data, which means that there are equal numbers of T cells and macrophages, gives rise to a single ODE, call it the toy model. It is the same equation which occurs twice in System 4. It is of the form $$\label{pretoy} \frac{dx}{dt}=-d_1x+g(ax-b)$$ where $a=a_{11}-a_{12}+a_{13}-a_{14}$ and $b=-(a_{12}+a_{14})d_1^{-1}$. Note that $a$ and $b$ are positive. Here the zero MHC condition has been used. This can be simplified by defining $x'=d_1 x$, $t'=d_1 t$ and $a'=a/d_1$. Suppressing the primes leads to $$\label{toy} \frac{dx}{dt}=-x+g(ax-b)$$ Denote the right hand side of \eqref{toy} by $h(x)$, suppressing the parameter dependence. Stationary solutions of the toy model are given by solutions of the equation $$\label{toystat} g(ax-b)=x.$$ Since $02$. For $a>2$ call the zeroes of the derivative $x_1$ and $x_2$ with $x_12$ there is precisely one value of $b$ for which the equation $-x_1+g(ax_1-b)=0$ holds. Call it $b_1(a)$. Define $b_2(a)$ similarly, replacing $x_1$ by $x_2$. Then $b_1(a)$ and $b_2(a)$ are the only values of $b$ for which there is a simultaneous solution of $g(ax-b)=x$ and $ag'(ax-b)=1$. For all $a>2$ the inequality $b_1(a)a/2$ it satisfies $x>1/2$. If $a>2$ and there are three stationary points then the central (unstable) one satisfies $x<1/2$ for $b1/2$ for $b>a/2$. When there is only one solution it is a hyperbolic sink. When there are three solutions the two outermost are hyperbolic sinks while the intermediate one is a hyperbolic source. If the parameter $b$ is held fixed at some value less than one and $a$ is varied then at the value of $a$ where $b_1(a)=b$ there is a fold bifurcation. To see this note that \begin{gather} \frac{\partial h}{\partial x}=-1+ag'(ax-b) \\ \frac{\partial h}{\partial a}= xg'(ax-b)=2xg(ax-b)(1-g(ax-b)) \\ \frac{\partial^2 h}{\partial x^2}=a^2g''(ax-b) =4a^2g'(ax-b)(1-2g(ax-b)) \end{gather} From the first equation it follows that at a critical point $x$ the quanitity $ag'(ax-b)$ must be equal to one. Hence the derivative with respect to $a$ does not vanish there. The second derivative with respect to $x$ can only vanish there if $g(ax-b)=1/2$, which implies that $x=\frac{b}{a}$, $x=1/2$ and $b=1$. The situation for $b>1$ is similar to that for $b<1$. To understand the case $b=1$ note that there is a cusp bifurcation in $(a,b)$ at the point $(2,1)$. This can be shown using the facts that \begin{gather} \frac{\partial h}{\partial b}=-g'(ax-b), \\ \frac{\partial^2 h}{\partial x\partial b}=-ag''(ax-b), \\ \frac{\partial^2 h}{\partial x\partial a}=axg''(ax-b) +g'(ax-b), \\ \begin{aligned} \frac{\partial^3 h}{\partial x^3} &=g'''(ax-b) \\ &=4a^3g''(ax-b)(1-2g(ax-b))-8a^3(g'(ax-b))^2. \end{aligned} \end{gather} Hence $\frac{\partial^3 h}{\partial x^3}$ and $\frac{\partial h}{\partial a}\frac{\partial^2 h}{\partial x\partial b}- \frac{\partial h}{\partial b}\frac{\partial^2 h}{\partial x\partial a}$ are both non-vanishing and \cite[Theorem 8.1]{kuznetsov} applies. If we remove the condition $x_1=x_3$ then $x_1-x_3$ decays exponentially. The qualitative nature of the dynamics of System 4 with the given restrictions on the parameters is then clear. This in turn gives information about the phase portrait of System 2 with these values of the parameters. Converting back to the original variables has the effect of replacing $a$ by $a/d_i$ in these criteria. Some of these results are summarized in the following theorem. \begin{theorem} \label{thm3} If in Theorem \ref{thm2} it is additionally assumed that $a_{1j}=a_{3j}$ for all $j$ and $d_1=d_3$ then the number of stationary solutions of \eqref{basic} is between one and three for any values of the parameters. It is one whenever $a_{11}-a_{12}+a_{13}-a_{14}\le 2$. There is a non-empty open set where it is three. The set where it is two is a union of two smoothly embedded curves which is the boundary between the sets where it is one and three. \end{theorem} Consider a choice of parameter set for \eqref{basic} for which there are three hyperbolic stationary points. It follows by a simple stability argument that there is an open neighbourhood of this parameter set in parameter space such that for all parameters in this neighbourhood there are precisely three hyperbolic stationary points. If the original set of stationary points consists of two sinks and one saddle then there is an open neighbourhood where this property persists. In the context of this theorem the question of Th1 or Th2 dominance can be examined for stationary solutions. It is of interest to know whether changing the parameters in the system can cause a switch from one type of dominance to the other. If this happens there must be some values of the parameters for which there is a stationary solution with $z_1=z_2$. Under the hypotheses of the Theorem \ref{thm2}, $x_2=d_1^{-1}-x_1$ and $x_4=d_1^{-1}-x_3$ for any stationary solution. Hence $z_2=2d_1^{-1}-z_1$. If $z_1=z_2$ then this implies that $z_1=d_1^{-1}$ and $x_1=\frac12 d_1^{-1}$. In terms of the new variable introduced in \eqref{toy} this means that $x=1/2$. The above discussion gives information about Th1 or Th2 dominance for various parameter values satisfying the restrictions in the statement of Theorem \ref{thm3}. What is of most interest for the applications is the position of the stable stationary points. In particular it is clear that there exist parameter values where there are stationary solutions with both types of dominance. Now another set of simplified versions of the system will be studied. The phase portraits given in Fig. 2 in \cite{levbaror} relate to one special case of this kind. In the notation used here it is defined by the following restrictions on the parameters: $d_i=1$ for all $i$, $\theta=0$, all coefficients $b_{ij}$ with $j=1$ or $j=3$ are equal, all coefficients $a_{ij}$ with $j=2$ or $j=4$ are equal, the coefficients $c_{ij}$ are equal for all $i$ and $j$. This reduces the number of free parameters to three. To simplify the notation let $A=b_{11}$, $B=-b_{12}$, $C=c_{11}$. These are all positive constants. For Fig. 2 in \cite{levbaror} two sets of values for the coefficients are considered. In both cases $C=0.5$. In Fig. 2a $A=0.4$ and $B=0.5$ while in Fig. 2b $A=0.6$ and $B=0.65$. With these assumptions System 1 becomes: \begin{gather}%\label{ABCsystem} \frac{dx_1}{dt}=-x_1+g((A+C)(x_1+x_3)+(-B+C)(x_2+x_4))\label{abc1}\\ \frac{dx_2}{dt}=-x_2+g((-A+C)(x_1+x_3)+(B+C)(x_2+x_4))\label{abc2}\\ \frac{dx_3}{dt}=-x_3+g(A(x_1+x_3)-B(x_2+x_4))\label{abc3}\\ \frac{dx_4}{dt}=-x_4+g(-A(x_1+x_3)+B(x_2+x_4))\label{abc4} \end{gather} Call this System 5. If $A+B+2C<1$ then there is at most one stationary point of this system. This can be proved in the same way as Theorem \ref{thm1}. Adding the equations in pairs leads to a closed system for the two experimentally accessible quantities $z_1$ and $z_2$. These are the variables which are plotted in Fig. 2 of \cite{levbaror}. \begin{gather} \frac{dz_1}{dt}=-z_1+g((A+C)z_1+(-B+C)z_2)+g(Az_1-Bz_2)\label{z1evol} \\ \frac{dz_2}{dt}=-z_2+g((-A+C)z_1+(B+C)z_2)+g(-Az_1+Bz_2)\label{z2evol} \end{gather} Call this System 6. Denote the right hand sides of \eqref{z1evol} and \eqref{z2evol} by $f_1(z_1,z_2)$ and $f_2(z_1,z_2)$ respectively. For this system uniqueness of the stationary solution follows from the assumption that the coefficients satisfy $A+B+C<1$. If in addition the coefficient $C$ is assumed to vanish then this reduces to \begin{gather} \frac{dz_1}{dt}=-z_1+2g(Az_1-Bz_2)\label{z1evol3}\\ \frac{dz_2}{dt}=-z_2+2g(-Az_1+Bz_2)\label{z1evol4} \end{gather} Call this System 7. Note that the system obtained by setting $C=0$ in System 5 is equivalent to a special case of System 2 and that Theorems \ref{thm2} and \ref{thm3} apply to it. The parameters are related by $a=2(A+B)$, $b=2B$. The special cases in \cite[Fig. 2]{levbaror} correspond to $a=1.8$, $b=1$ and $a=2.5$, $b=1.3$. It follows from \eqref{z1evol3} and \eqref{z1evol4} that $\frac{d}{dt}(z_1+z_2)=-(z_1+z_2)+2$ and that $z_1+z_2$ tends to two as $t\to\infty$. Thus the dynamics is controlled by that on the invariant manifold $z_1=2-z_2$. With the choices which have been made it coincides with the invariant manifold $S_1$ introduced earlier. Now consider what happens when $C\ne 0$. Provided $C\le\min\{A,B\}$ the system consisting of \eqref{z1evol} and \eqref{z2evol} is competitive. Thus each solution $(z_1,z_2)$ must converge to a stationary solution as $t\to\infty$ \cite{hirsch}. It can be concluded that the corresponding solution $(x_1,x_2,x_3,x_4)$ tends to a stationary solution. Information about stationary points of the system can be obtained by stability considerations, as was mentioned following Theorem \ref{thm3}. This discussion is summed up in the following theorem. \begin{theorem} \label{thm4} Any solution $x_i$ $(i=1,2,3,4)$ of \eqref{abc1}-\eqref{abc4} with parameter values satisfying $C\le\min\{A,B\}$ converges to a stationary solution as $t\to\infty$. For fixed values of $A$ and $B$ and $C$ sufficiently small the system has at most three stationary solutions and at most two stable stationary solutions. \end{theorem} The results which have been obtained are unfortunately not sufficient to give a rigorous confirmation of the qualitative behaviour shown in Fig. 2a and Fig. 2b of \cite{levbaror}. The condition $C<\min\{A,B\}$ is not satisfied by the parameter values in Fig. 2a. It is satisfied in the case of Fig. 2b of \cite{levbaror} but no information is obtained about the number of solutions. \section{Dynamics in the absence of macrophages}\label{Tcellonly} In this section it will be shown that all the dynamical behaviour which has been shown to occur in system \eqref{basic} also occurs in a truncated model where the influence of macrophages is ignored. The system has two unknowns $x_1$ and $x_2$ with the same interpretation as before. The effect of the macrophages is turned off by setting $a_{ij}=0$ when $i$ is one or two and $j$ is three or four. This leads to the following closed system for $x_1$ and $x_2$: \begin{gather} \frac{dx_1}{dt}=-d_1x_1+g(a_{11}x_1-a_{22}x_2) \\ \frac{dx_2}{dt}=-d_2x_2+g(-a_{11}x_1+a_{22}x_2) \end{gather} All the coefficients $d_1$, $d_2$, $a_{11}$ and $a_{22}$ are assumed positive, as before. Restricting further to the case that $d_1=d_2=d$ and $\theta=0$ allows the analysis of the dynamics to be reduced to that of a scalar equation as in the previous section. The scalar equation is $$\frac{dx_1}{dt}=-dx_1+g((a_{11}+a_{22})x_1-d^{-1}a_{22}).$$ This is essentially the equation \eqref{toy} analysed before and so all the phenomena found previously occur here also. \section{Further remarks} In this paper it has been possible to give a rigorous analysis of the asymptotics of solutions of the system of Lev Bar-Or \cite{levbaror} for some values of the parameters. Unfortunately there are large ranges of the parameters for which no conclusions were obtained or for which those conclusions are incomplete. The latter statement even includes the two cases for which numerical plots were included in \cite{levbaror}. The following questions have not been answered for the system \eqref{basic} with general parameters. \begin{itemize} \item Are there periodic solutions? \item Are there homoclinic orbits? \item Are there heteroclinic cycles? \item Are there strange attractors? \end{itemize} It should be emphasized that there is no evidence, analytical or numerical, that the answer to any of these questions is yes in the general case. We are left with a picture of a dynamical system where the long-time behaviour seems to be simple but it is quite unclear how to prove it except for a restricted set of values of the parameters. It is consistent with everything which has been found here that the system of four equations with eighteen parameters produces no qualitatively new phenomena in comparison with a reduced two-dimensional system with three parameters. No effects were found which are specifically dependent on the inclusion of the presentation of antigen by macrophages. 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