Abstract

Insulin resistance is defined as the reduced responsiveness to normal circulating levels of insulin. It is the basic condition of type 2 diabetes mellitus, in which both experimental animals and humans accumulate lipids intracellularly in skeletal muscle and liver. Measurement of these lipids in humans, using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy after lipid infusion, indicated they could cause inhibition of the glucose transporter GLUT4, thereby suppressing glucose entry into cells and inhibiting glucose oxidation and glycogen synthesis in muscle. Furthermore, it is known that the enzyme acetyl-CoA carboxylase2 (ACC2) suppresses the oxidation of fatty acids by inhibiting the entry of fatty acids into mitochondria. Further support for the lipocentric hypothesis of the pathogenesis of insulin resistance was provided by knocking out the gene coding for ACC2 in mice; this led to greater fatty acid oxidation, reduced fat mass and, in consequence, greatly enhanced insulin sensitivity. These studies suggest that a specific inhibitor of ACC2 would have therapeutic potential for type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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