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J Intern Med. 2013 Jul;274(1):25-40. doi: 10.1111/joim.12071. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Ectopic lipid storage and insulin resistance: a harmful relationship.

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Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.


Obesity increases the risk of metabolic diseases, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as well as cardiovascular disease. In addition to lipid accumulation in adipose tissue, obesity is associated with increased lipid storage in ectopic tissues, such as skeletal muscle and liver. Furthermore, lipid accumulation in the heart may result in cardiac dysfunction and heart failure. It has recently been demonstrated that intracellular lipid accumulation in ectopic tissues leads to pathological responses and impaired insulin signalling. Here, we will review the current understanding of how lipid storage and lipid droplet physiology affect the risk of developing metabolic diseases.

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