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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Metabolic Syndrome. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a pancreatic hormone that plays a vital role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Insulin regulates glucose concentrations by:

  • Promoting glycolysis - the uptake of glucose by cells for energy
  • Stimulating glycogenesis - the conversion of excess blood glucose to glycogen storage in the liver
  • Inhibiting glycogenolysis - the conversion of glycogen back to glucose
  • Inhibiting gluconeogenesis - the formation of glucose from noncarbohydrates

Insulin increases lipid synthesis in the liver and fat cells, and inhibits lipolysis (the release of NEFAs from triglycerides in fat and muscle cells). Insulin also promotes protein synthesis.

If insulin resistance occurs, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism are impaired. The impaired insulin action results in elevated plasma glucose levels. The increase in lipolysis increases blood concentrations of NEFAs and causes abnormal blood lipid levels.