Is insulin resistance a disorder of the brain?

Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2011 Jan 1;16:1-12. doi: 10.2741/3671.


There is reasonable evidence to suggest that insulin resistance may have its origins in the hypothalamus. Insulin secretion is regulated by sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and modulates the concentrations of hypothalamic neuropeptides and monoaminergic neurotransmitters, and, in return, hypothalamic monoamines regulate the secretion of insulin by pancreatic beta cells. A lesion of the ventromedial hypothalamus produces all the features of the metabolic syndrome including insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. These and other evidence suggest that insulin resistance may very well be a disease of the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Hypothalamus / physiology*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Neuropeptides / physiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Insulin
  • Neuropeptides