Revisiting the diacylglycerol-induced insulin resistance hypothesis


Address for correspondence: Dr F Amati, Department of Physiology, University of Lausanne, 7 Bugnon, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland.



Obesity is associated with skeletal muscle insulin resistance, which is a crucial step in the development of type 2 diabetes. Among the mechanisms by which obesity may lead to insulin resistance, lipotoxicity is one of the hypotheses being explored; others include inflammation or the oxidative stress hypotheses. This review focuses on the role of diacylglycerols (DAG), a family of lipid metabolites implicated in the pathogenesis of lipotoxicity and insulin resistance. While recent studies report contradictory results in humans with regard to the importance of DAG-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle, other current literature highlight a potential role for DAG as signalling molecules. This review will discuss possible hypotheses explaining these contradictory results and the need to explore further the role of DAG in human metabolism.