The Insulin resistance syndrome: physiological considerations

Author(s): Kashyap SR, Defronzo RA


The insulin resistance syndrome, also referred to as the metabolic syndrome or syndrome X, is associated with a primary cellular defect in insulin action (insulin resistance) and a compensatory increase in insulin secretion. The combination of insulin resistance and subsequent hyperinsulinaemia causes a number of metabolic and cardiovascular changes that result in a syndrome typically characterised by type 2 diabetes, obesity, dyslipidaemia, coronary artery disease and hypertension. Moreover, disturbances in sleep (sleep apnoea) and ovarian dysfunction are also characterised by insulin resistance. The pathophysiological basis for these disturbances reflects the impact of variable genetic and environmental influences. At a molecular level, insulin resistance involves defects of insulin signalling such as reduced insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity and reduced post-receptor phosphorylation steps that impinge on metabolic and vascular effects of insulin.

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