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Free Radic Res. 2014 Jan;48(1):93-108. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2013.847528. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

Physical inactivity, insulin resistance, and the oxidative-inflammatory loop.

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University Rennes 2 - ENS Cachan - Antenne de Bretagne, Laboratory "Movement, Sport and Health Sciences" (M2S) , Rennes , France.


Epidemiological data indicate that physical inactivity, a main factor of global energetic imbalance, is involved in the worldwide epidemic of obesity and metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance. Although the complex pathogenesis of insulin resistance is not fully understood, literature data accumulated during the past decades clearly indicate that the activation of the oxidative-inflammatory loop plays a major role. By activating the oxidative-inflammatory loop in insulin-sensitive tissues, fat gain and adipose tissue dysfunction likely contribute to induce insulin resistance during chronic and prolonged physical inactivity. However, in the past years, evidence has emerged showing that early insulin resistance also occurs after very short-term exposure to physical inactivity (1-7 days) without any fat gain or energetic imbalance. The possible role of liver disturbances or endothelial dysfunction is suggested, but further studies are necessary to really conclude. Inactive skeletal muscle probably constitutes the primary triggering tissue for the development of early insulin resistance. In the present review, we discuss on the current knowledge about the effect of physical inactivity on whole-body and peripheral insulin sensitivity, and how local inflammation and oxidative stress arising with physical inactivity could potentially induce insulin resistance. We assume that early muscle insulin resistance allows the excess nutrients to shift in the storage tissues to withstand starvation through energy storage. We also consider when chronic and prolonged, physical inactivity over an extended period of time is an underestimated contributor to pathological insulin resistance and hence indirectly to numerous chronic diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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