Glycemia Regulation: From Feedback Loops to Organizational Closure.

Frontiers in Physiology 11 (2020)
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Endocrinologists apply the idea of feedback loops to explain how hormones regulate certain bodily functions such as glucose metabolism. In particular, feedback loops focus on the maintenance of the plasma concentrations of glucose within a narrow range. Here, we put forward a different, organicist perspective on the endocrine regulation of glycaemia, by relying on the pivotal concept of closure of constraints. From this perspective, biological systems are understood as organized ones, which means that they are constituted of a set of mutually dependent functional structures acting as constraints, whose maintenance depends on their reciprocal interactions. Closure refers specifically to the mutual dependence among functional constraints in an organism. We show that, when compared to feedback loops, organizational closure can generate much richer descriptions of the processes and constraints at play in the metabolism and regulation of glycaemia, by making explicit the different hierarchical orders involved. We expect that the proposed theoretical framework will open the way to the construction of original mathematical models, which would provide a better understanding of endocrine regulation from an organicist perspective.

Author Profiles

Leonardo Bich
University of the Basque Country
Matteo Mossio
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Ana M. Soto
Tufts University


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