Systemic investigation of a brain-centered model of the human energy metabolism

Britta Göbel*, Dirk Langemann

*Corresponding author for this work
6 Citations (Scopus)


The regulation of the human energy metabolism is crucial to ensure the functionality of the entire organism. Deregulations may lead to severe pathologies such as diabetes mellitus and obesity. The decisive role of the brain as active controller and heavy consumer in the complex whole-body energy metabolism is the object of recent research. Latest studies suggest the priority of the brain energy supply in the competition between brain and body periphery for the available energy resources. In this paper, a systemic investigation of the human energy metabolism is presented which consists of a compartment model including periphery, blood, and brain as well as signaling paths via insulin, appetite, and ingestion. The presented dynamical system particularly contains the competition for energy between brain and body periphery. Characteristically, the hormone insulin is regarded as central feedback signal of the brain. The model realistically reproduces the qualitative behavior of the energy metabolism. Short-time observations demonstrate the physiological periodic food intake generating the typical oscillating blood glucose variations. Integration over the daily cycle yields a long-term model which shows a stable behavior in accordance with the homeostatic regulation of the energy metabolism on a long-time scale. Two types of abstract constitutive equations describing the interaction between compartments and signals are taken into consideration. These are nonlinear and linear representatives from the class of feasible relations. The robustness of the model against the choice of the representative relation is linked to evolutionary stability of existing organisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory in Biosciences
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 03.2011


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