Insulin resistance and protein energy metabolism in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease

Semin Dial. Jul-Aug 2010;23(4):378-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2010.00763.x.


Insulin resistance (IR), the reciprocal of insulin sensitivity is a known complication of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is associated with a number of metabolic derangements. The complex metabolic abnormalities observed in CKD such as vitamin D deficiency, obesity, metabolic acidosis, inflammation, and accumulation of "uremic toxins" are believed to contribute to the etiology of IR and acquired defects in the insulin-receptor signaling pathway in this patient population. Only a few investigations have explored the validity of commonly used assessment methods in comparison to gold standard hyperinsulinemic hyperglycemic clamp technique in CKD patients. An important consequence of insulin resistance is its role in the pathogenesis of protein energy wasting, a state of metabolic derangement characterized by loss of somatic and visceral protein stores not entirely accounted for by inadequate nutrient intake. In the general population, insulin resistance has been associated with accelerated protein catabolism. Among end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, enhanced muscle protein breakdown has been observed in patients with Type II diabetes compared to ESRD patients without diabetes. In the absence of diabetes mellitus (DM) or severe obesity, insulin resistance is detectable in dialysis patients and strongly associated with increased muscle protein breakdown, primarily mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Recent epidemiological data indicate a survival advantage and better nutritional status in insulin-free Type II DM patients treated with insulin sensitizer thiazolidinediones. Given the high prevalence of protein energy wasting in ESRD and its unequivocal association with adverse clinical outcomes, insulin resistance may represent an important modifiable target for intervention in the ESRD population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Insulin
  • Muscle Proteins