Regulation of lipolysis in adipose tissue is critical to whole body fuel homeostasis and to the development of insulin resistance. Due to the challenging nature of laboratory investigations of regulatory mechanisms in adipose tissue, mathematical models could provide a valuable adjunct to such experimental work. We have developed a computational model to analyze key components of adipose tissue metabolism in vivo in human in the fasting state. The various key components included triglyceride-fatty acid cycling, regulation of lipolytic reactions, and glyceroneogenesis. The model, consisting of spatially lumped blood and cellular compartments, included essential transport processes and biochemical reactions. Concentration dynamics for major substrates were described by mass balance equations. Model equations were solved numerically to simulate dynamic responses to intravenous epinephrine infusion. Model simulations were compared with the corresponding experimental measurements of the arteriovenous difference across the abdominal subcutaneous fat bed in humans. The model can simulate physiological responses arising from the different expression levels of lipases. Key findings of this study are as follows: (1) Distinguishing the active metabolic subdomain (∼3% of total tissue volume) is critical for simulating data. (2) During epinephrine infusion, lipases are differentially activated such that diglyceride breakdown is approximately four times faster than triglyceride breakdown. (3) Glyceroneogenesis contributes more to glycerol-3-phosphate synthesis during epinephrine infusion when pyruvate oxidation is inhibited by a high acetyl-CoA/free-CoA ratio. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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