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PLoS One. 2014 Jun 18;9(6):e99836. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099836. eCollection 2014.

Method for finding metabolic properties based on the general growth law. Liver examples. A general framework for biological modeling.

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Segmentsoft Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


We propose a method for finding metabolic parameters of cells, organs and whole organisms, which is based on the earlier discovered general growth law. Based on the obtained results and analysis of available biological models, we propose a general framework for modeling biological phenomena and discuss how it can be used in Virtual Liver Network project. The foundational idea of the study is that growth of cells, organs, systems and whole organisms, besides biomolecular machinery, is influenced by biophysical mechanisms acting at different scale levels. In particular, the general growth law uniquely defines distribution of nutritional resources between maintenance needs and biomass synthesis at each phase of growth and at each scale level. We exemplify the approach considering metabolic properties of growing human and dog livers and liver transplants. A procedure for verification of obtained results has been introduced too. We found that two examined dogs have high metabolic rates consuming about 0.62 and 1 gram of nutrients per cubic centimeter of liver per day, and verified this using the proposed verification procedure. We also evaluated consumption rate of nutrients in human livers, determining it to be about 0.088 gram of nutrients per cubic centimeter of liver per day for males, and about 0.098 for females. This noticeable difference can be explained by evolutionary development, which required females to have greater liver processing capacity to support pregnancy. We also found how much nutrients go to biomass synthesis and maintenance at each phase of liver and liver transplant growth. Obtained results demonstrate that the proposed approach can be used for finding metabolic characteristics of cells, organs, and whole organisms, which can further serve as important inputs and constraints for many applications in biology (such as protein expression), biotechnology (synthesis of substances), and medicine.

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