Biomedical Cybernetics

Setpoint diseases are caused by mechanisms that result in translocation of a feedback loop's setpoint to an unphysiological position. As a consequence, the control system enters an allostatic condition, where feedback is still operational, but on an altered level of steady state. The ensuing maladaptation may give rise to reduced performance and even end organ damage.


  • Central hypothyroidism in children born to mothers suffering from Graves' disease[1]
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism
  • Metabolic syndrome (at least some sub-forms[2])
  • MODY 2 diabetes
  • Primary polydipsia
  • Some subforms of essential arterial hypertension


  1. Yamada M, Mori M. Mechanisms related to the pathophysiology and management of central hypothyroidism. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Dec;4(12):683-94. doi: 10.1038/ncpendmet0995. PMID 18941435.
  2. Speakman JR, Levitsky DA, Allison DB, Bray MS, de Castro JM, Clegg DJ, Clapham JC, Dulloo AG, Gruer L, Haw S, Hebebrand J, Hetherington MM, Higgs S, Jebb SA, Loos RJ, Luckman S, Luke A, Mohammed-Ali V, O'Rahilly S, Pereira M, Perusse L, Robinson TN, Rolls B, Symonds ME, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Set points, settling points and some alternative models: theoretical options to understand how genes and environments combine to regulate body adiposity. Dis Model Mech. 2011 Nov;4(6):733-45. doi: 10.1242/dmm.008698. PMID 22065844