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J Theor Biol. 1991 May 7;150(1):93-107.

A mathematical model and computer simulation study of insulin sensitive glucose transporter regulation.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60201.


A mathematical model of insulin sensitive glucose transporter regulation is developed. Model structure is based on experimental evidence from adipocytes and myocytes. Model parameters correspond with known cellular processes. As an example, computer simulation results are compared with data from rat adipocytes. Cellular processes explicitly represented in the model include state-dependent glucose transporter synthesis and degradation rates, insulin sensitive glucose transporter translocation rates, and a glucose transporter endocytosis rate. Most of these processes are represented as first-order events. Using more complex representations of the model structure (e.g. higher order rate constants or saturable pathways) or alternative structures did not result in qualitatively better results. The model is able to accurately simulate the insulin sensitive, insulin concentration dependent, reversible translocation of glucose transporters observed in normal adipocytes. The model is also able to accurately simulate the changes in regulation of glucose transporter translocation observed with increases in cell surface area. Finally, the model can simulate pathogenic states which induce impairment of glucose transporter regulation (e.g. altered glucose transporter regulation in adipocytes from rats on high fat diets, rats with streptozotocin induced diabetes, and fasted rats). Since the structure of our model is sufficient to explain glucose transporter regulation in both normal and pathological states, it may aid in understanding the post-receptor components of insulin resistance (decreased sensitivity or responsiveness to insulin) seen in pathological states such as obesity and diabetes mellitus.

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