Compact energy metabolism model: Brain controlled energy supply

Britta Göbel, Dirk Langemann, Kerstin M. Oltmanns, Matthias Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


The regulation of the energy metabolism is crucial to ensure the functionality of the entire organism. Deregulations may lead to severe pathologies such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The decisive role of the brain as the active controller and heavy consumer in the complex whole body energy metabolism is the matter of recent research. Latest studies suggest that the brain's energy supply has the highest priority while all organs in the organism compete for the available energy resources. In our novel mathematical model, we address these new findings. We integrate energy fluxes and their control signals such as glucose fluxes, insulin signals as well as the ingestion momentum in our new dynamical system. As a novel characteristic, the hormone insulin is regarded as central feedback signal of the brain. Hereby, our model particularly contains the competition for energy between brain and body periphery. The analytical investigation of the presented dynamical system shows a stable long-term behavior of the entire energy metabolism while short time observations demonstrate the typical oscillating blood glucose variations as a consequence of food intake. Our simulation results demonstrate a realistic behavior even in situations like exercise or exhaustion, and key elements like the brain's preeminence are reflected. The presented dynamical system is a step towards a systemic understanding of the human energy metabolism and thus may shed light to defects causing diseases based on deregulations in the energy metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1214-1224
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2010


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