Indexed on: 20 Aug '17Published on: 20 Aug '17Published in: Scientific Reports
The small intestine serves as gatekeeper at the interface between body and diet and is thought to play an important role in the etiology of obesity and associated metabolic disorders. A computational modelling approach was used to improve our understanding of the metabolic responses of epithelial cells to different diets. A constraint based, mouse-specific enterocyte metabolic model (named mmu_ENT717) was constructed to describe the impact of four fully characterized semi-purified diets, that differed in lipid and carbohydrate composition, on uptake, metabolism, as well as secretion of carbohydrates and lipids. Our simulation results predicted luminal sodium as a limiting factor for active glucose absorption; necessity of apical localization of glucose transporter GLUT2 for absorption of all glucose in the postprandial state; potential for gluconeogenesis in enterocytes; and the requirement of oxygen for the formation of endogenous cholesterol needed for chylomicron formation under luminal cholesterol-free conditions. In addition, for a number of enzymopathies related to intestinal carbohydrate and lipid metabolism it was found that their effects might be ameliorated through dietary interventions. In conclusion, our improved enterocyte-specific model was shown to be a suitable platform to study effects of dietary interventions on enterocyte metabolism, and provided novel and deeper insights into enterocyte metabolism.