Hyperinsulinemia, hyperproinsulinemia and insulin resistance in the metabolic syndrome

Experientia. 1996 May 15;52(5):426-32. doi: 10.1007/BF01919311.


For better comprehension of the metabolic syndrome, it is necessary to differentiate the effect of insulin on glucose metabolism on the one hand, and on other metabolic activities on the other hand. Whereas glucose utilization is affected by insulin resistance, the effect of insulin on lipid metabolism, ion and aminoacid transport does not seem to be diminished. Lipid metabolism, however, seems to play a crucial role in the induction of the vicious cycle. Increased energy and fat ingestion may be due to an increased number of galanin secreting cells in the hypothalamus. The excessive fat intake results in an increased rate of release of insulin and increased influx of triglycerides into the blood. From these triglycerides an excess of free fatty acids is released by the action of lipoprotein lipase. The increased plasma free fatty acid level then results in insulin resistance affecting glucose metabolism. Also, these free fatty acids may impair the secretion of insulin. Induction of insulin resistance results in higher glucose levels, which may cause hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia maintains the elevation of triglycerides. When diabetes becomes overt and elevated glucose levels prevail, the hyperinsulinism acts on the metabolic pathways which are still sensitive to insulin, namely lipid metabolism, aminoacid transport and ion transport.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / physiopathology*
  • Insulin / physiology*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Models, Biological
  • Proinsulin / physiology*
  • Syndrome
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Proinsulin