Exercise and type 2 diabetes: molecular mechanisms regulating glucose uptake in skeletal muscle

Adv Physiol Educ. 2014 Dec;38(4):308-14. doi: 10.1152/advan.00080.2014.


Exercise is a well-established tool to prevent and combat type 2 diabetes. Exercise improves whole body metabolic health in people with type 2 diabetes, and adaptations to skeletal muscle are essential for this improvement. An acute bout of exercise increases skeletal muscle glucose uptake, while chronic exercise training improves mitochondrial function, increases mitochondrial biogenesis, and increases the expression of glucose transporter proteins and numerous metabolic genes. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms that mediate the effects of exercise to increase glucose uptake in skeletal muscle.

Keywords: exercise; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*


  • Glucose