Role of non-esterified fatty acids in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus

Diabet Med. 1998 May;15(5):360-6. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-9136(199805)15:5<360::AID-DIA568>3.0.CO;2-W.


Over 30 years after the original description of Randle's cycle, the mechanisms by which elevated circulating non-esterified fatty acids might be causally related to glucose intolerance in Type 2 diabetes mellitus remain uncertain. This review examines the evidence that elevated plasma NEFA can inhibit glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by pancreatic beta-cells and impair glucose- and insulin-stimulated glucose disposal by peripheral tissues. Experimental evidence beginning to examine the mechanisms of these phenomena is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / physiology*
  • Glucose Intolerance / blood
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin