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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2012, Article ID 983814, 18 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/983814
Review Article

Ectopic Fat and Insulin Resistance: Pathophysiology and Effect of Diet and Lifestyle Interventions

1Departments of Endocrinology & Metabolism and General Internal Medicine, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
2Walaeus Library, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands
3Department of Radiology, Leiden University Medical Center, P.O. Box 9600, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 15 July 2011; Revised 16 January 2012; Accepted 17 January 2012

Academic Editor: Andreas Höflich

Copyright © 2012 M. Snel 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.

Abstract

The storage of triglyceride (TG) droplets in nonadipose tissues is called ectopic fat storage. Ectopic fat is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Not the triglycerides per se but the accumulation of intermediates of lipid metabolism in organs, such as the liver, skeletal muscle, and heart seem to disrupt metabolic processes and impair organ function. We describe the mechanisms of ectopic fat depositions in the liver, skeletal muscle, and in and around the heart and the consequences for each organs function. In addition, we systematically reviewed the literature for the effects of diet-induced weight loss and exercise on ectopic fat depositions.