BACKGROUND: In-silico models that attempt to capture and describe the physiological behavior of biological organisms, including humans, are intrinsically complex and time consuming to build and simulate in a computing environment. The level of detail of description incorporated in the model depends on the knowledge of the system's behavior at that level. This knowledge is gathered from the literature and/or improved by knowledge obtained from new experiments. Thus model development is an iterative developmental procedure. The objective of this paper is to describe a new plug and play scheme that offers increased flexibility and ease-of-use for modeling and simulating physiological behavior of biological organisms. METHODS: This scheme requires the modeler (user) first to supply the structure of the interacting components and experimental data in a tabular format. The behavior of the components described in a mathematical form, also provided by the modeler, is externally linked during simulation. The advantage of the plug and play scheme for modeling is that it requires less programming effort and can be quickly adapted to newer modeling requirements while also paving the way for dynamic model building. RESULTS: As an illustration, the paper models the dynamics of gastric emptying behavior experienced by humans. The flexibility to adapt the model to predict the gastric emptying behavior under varying types of nutrient infusion in the intestine (ileum) is demonstrated. The predictions were verified with a human intervention study. The error in predicting the half emptying time was found to be less than 6%. CONCLUSIONS: A new plug-and-play scheme for biological systems modeling was developed that allows changes to the modeled structure and behavior with reduced programming effort, by abstracting the biological system into a network of smaller sub-systems with independent behavior. In the new scheme, the modeling and simulation becomes an automatic machine readable and executable task.
Krishnan, S., van Avesaat, M., Troost, F. J., Hendriks, H. F., & de Graaf, A. A. (2014). A new flexible plug and play scheme for modeling, simulating, and predicting gastric emptying. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, 11(1), 28. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-4682-11-28