Skeletal muscle inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity

J Clin Invest. 2017 Jan 3;127(1):43-54. doi: 10.1172/JCI88880. Epub 2017 Jan 3.


Obesity is associated with chronic inflammation, which contributes to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Under normal conditions, skeletal muscle is responsible for the majority of insulin-stimulated whole-body glucose disposal; thus, dysregulation of skeletal muscle metabolism can strongly influence whole-body glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. Increasing evidence suggests that inflammation occurs in skeletal muscle in obesity and is mainly manifested by increased immune cell infiltration and proinflammatory activation in intermyocellular and perimuscular adipose tissue. By secreting proinflammatory molecules, immune cells may induce myocyte inflammation, adversely regulate myocyte metabolism, and contribute to insulin resistance via paracrine effects. Increased influx of fatty acids and inflammatory molecules from other tissues, particularly visceral adipose tissue, can also induce muscle inflammation and negatively regulate myocyte metabolism, leading to insulin resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Glucose / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Insulin Resistance / immunology*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / immunology*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / pathology
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / immunology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / immunology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Myositis / complications
  • Myositis / immunology*
  • Myositis / pathology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / immunology*
  • Obesity / pathology


  • Glucose