The mechanism(s) behind the decreased ability of insulin to facilitate glucose uptake in insulin sensitive tissues as seen in type 2 diabetes is not resolved. With the rapidly increasing prevalence of this disease world-wide, and the many complications that follow the disease, large resources are used in the attempt to resolve the mechanisms of insulin resistance. In this context, a dysfunction of mitochondria in the skeletal muscle has been suggested to play a pivotal role. It has been postulated that a decrease in the content of mitochondria in the skeletal muscle can explain the insulin resistance. Complementary to this also specific defects of components in the respiratory chain in the mitochondria have been suggested to play a role in insulin resistance. A key element in these mechanistic suggestions is inability to handle substrate fluxes and subsequently an accumulation of ectopic intramyocellular lipids, interfering with insulin signaling. In this review we will present the prevailing view-points and argue for the unlikelihood of this scenario being instrumental in human insulin resistance. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Bioenergetic dysfunction.
International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, 2013, Vol 45, Issue 1, p. 11-5