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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Sep;32(9):2104-12. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.241463. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Selective hepatic insulin resistance, VLDL overproduction, and hypertriglyceridemia.

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  • 1University of Rochester Medical Center, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Rochester, NY, USA.


Insulin plays a central role in regulating energy metabolism, including hepatic transport of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-associated triglyceride. Hepatic hypersecretion of VLDL and consequent hypertriglyceridemia leads to lower circulating high-density lipoprotein levels and generation of small dense low-density lipoproteins characteristic of the dyslipidemia commonly observed in metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Physiological fluctuations of insulin modulate VLDL secretion, and insulin inhibition of VLDL secretion upon feeding may be the first pathway to become resistant in obesity that leads to VLDL hypersecretion. This review summarizes the role of insulin-related signaling pathways that determine hepatic VLDL production. Disruption in signaling pathways that reduce generation of the second messenger phosphatidylinositide (3,4,5) triphosphate downstream of activated phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase underlies the development of VLDL hypersecretion. As insulin resistance progresses, a number of pathways are altered that further augment VLDL hypersecretion, including hepatic inflammatory pathways. Insulin plays a complex role in regulating glucose metabolism, and it is not surprising that the role of insulin in VLDL and lipid metabolism will prove equally complex.

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