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Mathematical modeling of the human energy metabolism based on the Selfish Brain Theory

Abstract

Deregulations in the human energy metabolism may cause diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The origins of these pathologies are fairly unknown. The key role of the brain is the regulation of the complex whole body energy metabolism. The Selfish Brain Theory identifies the priority of brain energy supply in the competition for available energy resources within the organism. Here, we review mathematical models of the human energy metabolism supporting central aspects of the Selfish Brain Theory. First, we present a dynamical system modeling the whole body energy metabolism. This model takes into account the two central control mechanisms of the brain, i.e., allocation and appetite. Moreover, we present mathematical models of regulatory subsystems. We examine a neuronal model which specifies potential elements of the brain to sense and regulate cerebral energy content. We investigate a model of the HPA system regulating the allocation of energy within the organism. Finally, we present a robust modeling approach of appetite regulation. All models account for a systemic understanding of the human energy metabolism and thus do shed light onto defects causing metabolic diseases.

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