HEPATOKIN1 is a biochemistry-based model of liver metabolism for applications in medicine and pharmacology

Nat Commun. 2018 Jun 19;9(1):2386. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04720-9.


The epidemic increase of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) requires a deeper understanding of the regulatory circuits controlling the response of liver metabolism to nutritional challenges, medical drugs, and genetic enzyme variants. As in vivo studies of human liver metabolism are encumbered with serious ethical and technical issues, we developed a comprehensive biochemistry-based kinetic model of the central liver metabolism including the regulation of enzyme activities by their reactants, allosteric effectors, and hormone-dependent phosphorylation. The utility of the model for basic research and applications in medicine and pharmacology is illustrated by simulating diurnal variations of the metabolic state of the liver at various perturbations caused by nutritional challenges (alcohol), drugs (valproate), and inherited enzyme disorders (galactosemia). Using proteomics data to scale maximal enzyme activities, the model is used to highlight differences in the metabolic functions of normal hepatocytes and malignant liver cells (adenoma and hepatocellular carcinoma).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Galactosemias / drug therapy
  • Galactosemias / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Valproic Acid