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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Sep;32(9):2068-76. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.241984.

Insulin resistance: metabolic mechanisms and consequences in the heart.

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Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes and Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


Insulin resistance is a characteristic feature of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus and impacts the heart in various ways. Impaired insulin-mediated glucose uptake is a uniformly observed characteristic of the heart in these states, although changes in upstream kinase signaling are variable and dependent on the severity and duration of the associated obesity or diabetes mellitus. The understanding of the physiological and pathophysiological role of insulin resistance in the heart is evolving. To maintain its high energy demands, the heart is capable of using many metabolic substrates. Although insulin signaling may directly regulate cardiac metabolism, its main role is likely the regulation of substrate delivery from the periphery to the heart. In addition to promoting glucose uptake, insulin regulates long-chain fatty acid uptake, protein synthesis, and vascular function in the normal cardiovascular system. Recent advances in understanding the role of metabolic, signaling, and inflammatory pathways in obesity have provided opportunities to better understand the pathophysiology of insulin resistance in the heart. This review will summarize our current understanding of metabolic mechanisms for and consequences of insulin resistance in the heart and will discuss potential new areas for investigating novel mechanisms that contribute to insulin resistance in the heart.

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