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Muscle Contraction Increases Insulin Sensitivity

Posted: Thursday, March 01, 2007

In line with previous findings, acute muscle contraction or exercise can restore insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant skeletal muscle, according to findings from a new study.

"Because skeletal muscle accounts for 80 to 90% of glucose disposal," lead investigator Dr. John P. Thyfault told Reuters Health, "this means that pre-diabetic or type 2 diabetic patients can aggressively influence blood glucose levels by increasing their daily physical activity."

The mechanisms by which exercise restores insulin sensitivity are unknown, Dr. Thyfault explained. "However, our study indicates that increased mitochondrial energy flux caused by acute exercise may play a role in the acutely improved insulin sensitivity."

Dr. Thyfault of the University of Missouri, Columbia and colleagues found that acute contraction restores insulin-stimulated glucose uptake to normal levels in muscle of obese Zucker rats.

The normalization of insulin action by contraction of muscle was associated with increased mitochondrial activity and fatty acid catabolism, they report in the February issue of the American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology.

In turn, these putative changes in mitochondrial energy metabolism and/or other contraction-induced events appear to circumvent upstream impairments in insulin signaling.

Thus, concluded Dr. Thyfault, "Daily physical activity or exercise acutely improves insulin sensitivity in previously insulin-resistant skeletal muscle."



Source: Diabetes In Control: Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2007;292:C729-C739

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