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J Membr Biol. 2014 Aug;247(8):685-94. doi: 10.1007/s00232-014-9687-3. Epub 2014 Jun 4.

A theoretical model of glucose transport suggests symmetric GLUT1 characteristics at placental membranes.

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Bar-Code Computers Ltd, PO Box 2013, 3912001, Tirat-Carmel, Israel,


The process of glucose transport via the placenta is not fully deciphered. Here, we apply a theoretical model to compute glucose fluxes via the terminal villi of the human placenta for various sets of parameter values and conclude on characteristics of transport across the two bordering membranes. Based on available measured data, the spatial geometry of the terminal villi is being simulated. Within this region, glucose concentrations and fluxes are computed by a numerical scheme that solves the diffusion equation with boundary conditions that account for transporter mediated diffusion at the membranes. Feasible parameter values (ones that induce physiological glucose fluxes) are determined for four optional symmetry characteristics of the membranes. Confronting computed results with clinical knowledge reveals the most plausible scenario-symmetric activity of the transporter at the microvillous membrane. Thus, sensitivity analysis of the computed results enables deduction about micro-scale mechanisms at the bordering membranes based on macro-scale knowledge.

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