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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 5825170, 8 pages
Review Article

Selective Insulin Resistance in the Kidney

1Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Tokyo Hospital, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan
2Yaizu City Hospital, 1000 Dobara, Yaizu, Shizuoka 425-8505, Japan

Received 16 February 2016; Revised 4 April 2016; Accepted 7 April 2016

Academic Editor: Denis Feliers

Copyright © 2016 Shoko Horita et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Insulin resistance has been characterized as attenuation of insulin sensitivity at target organs and tissues, such as muscle and fat tissues and the liver. The insulin signaling cascade is divided into major pathways such as the PI3K/Akt pathway and the MAPK/MEK pathway. In insulin resistance, however, these pathways are not equally impaired. For example, in the liver, inhibition of gluconeogenesis by the insulin receptor substrate (IRS) 2 pathway is impaired, while lipogenesis by the IRS1 pathway is preserved, thus causing hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. It has been recently suggested that selective impairment of insulin signaling cascades in insulin resistance also occurs in the kidney. In the renal proximal tubule, insulin signaling via IRS1 is inhibited, while insulin signaling via IRS2 is preserved. Insulin signaling via IRS2 continues to stimulate sodium reabsorption in the proximal tubule and causes sodium retention, edema, and hypertension. IRS1 signaling deficiency in the proximal tubule may impair IRS1-mediated inhibition of gluconeogenesis, which could induce hyperglycemia by preserving glucose production. In the glomerulus, the impairment of IRS1 signaling deteriorates the structure and function of podocyte and endothelial cells, possibly causing diabetic nephropathy. This paper mainly describes selective insulin resistance in the kidney, focusing on the proximal tubule.