AMATH Grad Students
Stephanie Abo | University of Waterloo
Modelling fuel metabolism during exercise in men and women
Women oxidize significantly more lipids and significantly less carbohydrates than men during endurance exercise. This sexual dimorphism in fuel metabolism has been attributed in part to observed differences in epinephrine and glucagon levels during exercise between men and women. To identify the candidate mechanisms for this sex difference, we created a sex-specific multi-scale mathematical model that links cellular metabolism in organs to whole-body responses during exercise. Model simulations show that the female liver, which tends to preserve hepatic glycogen stores, is primarily responsible for the shift toward lipid metabolism. Furthermore, skeletal muscle in females uses plasma free fatty acids as its primary fuel source rather than intramyocellular lipids, whereas the opposite holds true for males.