Applications of NMR spectroscopy to study muscle glycogen metabolism in man

Annu Rev Med. 1999;50:277-90. doi: 10.1146/


Prior to the advent of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, human glucose metabolism was studied through tracer and tissue biopsy methodology. NMR spectroscopy now provides a noninvasive means to monitor metabolic flux and intracellular metabolite concentrations continuously. 13C NMR spectroscopy has shown that muscle glycogen synthesis accounts for the majority of insulin-stimulated muscle glucose uptake in normal volunteers and that defects in this process are chiefly responsible for insulin resistance in type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as in other insulin resistant states (obesity, insulin-resistant offspring of type 2 diabetic parents, elevation of plasma FFA concentrations). Furthermore, using 31P NMR spectroscopy to measure intracellular glucose-6-phosphate, it has been shown that defects in insulin-stimulated glucose transport/phosphorylation activity are primarily responsible for the insulin resistance in these states.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate / metabolism
  • Glycogen / biosynthesis
  • Glycogen / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Phosphorus Isotopes
  • Phosphorylation


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Phosphorus Isotopes
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate
  • Glycogen
  • Glucose