The liver is the most important organ responsible for metabolic homeostasis like glucose metabolism or fat storage and the detoxification of blood. Various liver diseases like the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can affect the liver functions. Since about 20-30% of the population in industrial countries suffer from a NAFLD, which results for example from a high fat diet, a better understanding of the development of fat in the liver cells and their effects on the blood perfusion is necessary for a better diagnosis and finally an improved therapeutic treatment.
To simulate the processes in the liver, we use a multicomponent, poro-elastic, multiphasic and multiscale function-perfusion approach.
On the organ scale the total perfusion as well as the blood pressure is simulated. This affects the blood perfusion through the liver lobules on the lobule scale, where we have an anisotropic blood flow along the sinusoid, the liver cells. On the lobule scale the complex biological structure of the liver lobules is described by the Theory of Porous Media (TPM). The metabolism processes take place on the cell scale, where we use ordinary differential equations to describe the extensive procedures.
The picture on the right shows the distribution of the fat in the liver lobule, with help of the volume fraction of the fat.
The numerical model allows a non-invasive, patient-specific analysis of the liver and can help to improve therapy as well as actual surgical procedures. Furthermore, the model can help to predict the progress of a NAFLD and its effect on the liver functions like perfusion or blood pressure, as well as interaction with other liver processes like the detoxification of toxins.
This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the Research Unit Programme FOR 5151 "QuaLiPerF (Quantifying Liver Perfusion–Function Relationship in Complex Resection––A Systems Medicine Approach)" by grant number 436883643
Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) by grant number 465194077. (Priority Programme SPP 2311, Subproject SimLivA)
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