A positive energy balance is considered to be the primary cause of the development of obesity-related diseases. Treatment often consists of a combination of reducing energy intake and increasing energy expenditure. Here we use an existing computational modelling framework describing the long-term development of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) in APOE3L.CETP mice fed a high-fat diet containing cholesterol with a human-like metabolic system. This model was used to analyze energy expenditure and energy balance in a large set of individual model realizations.
We developed and applied a strategy to select specific individual models for a detailed analysis of heterogeneity in energy metabolism. Models were stratified based on energy expenditure. A substantial surplus of energy was found to be present during MetS development, which explains the weight gain during MetS development. In the majority of the models, energy was mainly expended in the peripheral tissues, but also distinctly different subgroups were identified.
In silico perturbation of the system to induce increased peripheral energy expenditure implied changes in lipid metabolism, but not in carbohydrate metabolism. In silico analysis provided predictions for which individual models increase of peripheral energy expenditure would be an effective treatment.
The computational analysis confirmed that the energy imbalance plays an important role in the development of obesity. Furthermore, the model is capable to predict whether an increase in peripheral energy expenditure – for instance by cold exposure to activate brown adipose tissue (BAT) – could resolve MetS symptoms
- Brown adipose tissue
- Cold exposure
- Computational modelling
- Energy expenditure
- Lipid metabolism
- Metabolic syndrome