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Central obesity, type 2 diabetes and insulin: exploring a pathway full of thorns
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Submission date: 2013-05-19
Final revision date: 2013-06-08
Acceptance date: 2013-07-04
Online publication date: 2015-06-19
Publication date: 2015-06-30
Arch Med Sci 2015;11(3):463–482
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is rapidly increasing. This is strongly related to the contemporary lifestyle changes that have resulted in increased rates of overweight individuals and obesity. Central (intra-abdominal) obesity is observed in the majority of patients with T2D. It is associated with insulin resistance, mainly at the level of skeletal muscle, adipose tissue and liver. The discovery of macrophage infiltration in the abdominal adipose tissue and the unbalanced production of adipocyte cytokines (adipokines) was an essential step towards novel research perspectives for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing the development of insulin resistance. Furthermore, in an obese state, the increased cellular uptake of non-esterified fatty acids is exacerbated without any subsequent -oxidation. This in turn contributes to the accumulation of intermediate lipid metabolites that cause defects in the insulin signaling pathway. This paper examines the possible cellular mechanisms that connect central obesity with defects in the insulin pathway. It discusses the discrepancies observed from studies organized in cell cultures, animal models and humans. Finally, it emphasizes the need for therapeutic strategies in order to achieve weight reduction in overweight and obese patients with T2D.