BioFiles v6 n4


BioFiles Volume 6, Number 4 — Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin Resistance

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Metabolic Syndrome and Insulin ResistanceTable of Contents



Linda Stephenson
Linda Stephenson

Metabolic syndrome, also known as insulin resistance syndrome, encompasses a constellation of associated risk factors that increase the likelihood for developing multiple diseases, including artherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. The main features of metabolic syndrome are insulin resistance, hypertension, and dysregulated cholesterol levels. It is well established that the development of metabolic syndrome is strongly associated with obesity, inactivity, and genetics and the likelihood of disease development increases with age. With increasing world-wide obesity rates and the aging populations in many countries, there has been a global rise in the incidence of metabolic syndrome. For example, it is currently estimated that between 25% and 34% of the U.S. adult population over 20 years of age meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome. From an economic point of view, the rising rates of metabolic syndrome and its associated illnesses are fueling dramatically increasing health care costs. For example, a study published in Health Affairs found that almost all the growth in Medicare spending in the United States between 1987 and 2002 was due to patient treatment for disorders related to metabolic syndrome.

Insulin resistance is thought to underpin many of the components of metabolic syndrome and can occur years before the manifestation of disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Although there are rare monogenic defects that lead to insulin resistance, the common forms of insulin resistance are multifactorial with key inputs from both genetic and environmental factors. In agreement with this, multiple environmentally-induced cellular defects have been identified that lead to insulin resistance in susceptible individuals. These include decreased insulin signaling in obese patients and animals and dysregulated fatty acid metabolism in response to nutrient excess.

Understanding the mechanisms that lead to insulin resistance are vital to the development of new therapies and the identification of new drug targets for treating this condition before it evolves into disorders such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

In this issue of Biofiles, we focus on our comprehensive portfolio of products for studying insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Included in this issue are products for studying:

  • Insulin resistance and energy homeostasis
  • Lipid-induced insulin resistance
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolism defects
  • Oxidative stress and mitochondrial research


  1. Balkau, B. et al., A Review of the Metabolic Syndrome. Diabetes and Metab. 33, 405–413 (2007).
  2. Kiberstis, P.A., A Surfeit of Suspects. Science. 307, 369 (2005).
  3. Ervin, R. B. et al., Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome Among Adults 20 Years of Age and Over, by Sex, Age, Race and Ethnicity, and Body Mass Index: United States, 2003-2006. Natl. Health Stat. Reports 13, 1–7 (2009).
  4. Thorpe, K. E. and Howard, D. H., The Rise In Spending Among Medicare Beneficiaries: The Role of Chronic Disease Prevalence and Changes in Treatment Intensity. Health Aff. Published online at

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