Is mitochondrial dysfunction a cause of insulin resistance?

Nigel Turner, Leonie Heilbronn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

120 Citations (Scopus)


Insulin resistance is a key defect associated with obesity and type-2 diabetes. The precise factors that lead to insulin resistance have not been elucidated fully, but there is a strong association between insulin resistance and inappropriate lipid accumulation in insulin-target tissues. Over the past decade, several studies have reported changes in markers of mitochondrial metabolism in insulin-resistant individuals. These observations have led to the theory that compromised mitochondrial oxidative function, particularly in skeletal muscle, causes excess lipid deposition and the development of insulin resistance. Here, we review the latest findings regarding the link between mitochondrial metabolism and insulin action and, in particular, highlight several recent studies that call into question the cause-and-effect relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

Cite this