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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 484696, 8 pages
Review Article

MicroRNAs in Insulin Resistance and Obesity

1O’Brien Institute, Melbourne, VIC 3065, Australia
2Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC 3065, Australia
3Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, VIC 3065, Australia

Received 20 February 2012; Accepted 27 April 2012

Academic Editor: Anandwardhan Hardikar

Copyright © 2012 Michael D. Williams and Geraldine M. Mitchell. 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.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of short, single-stranded non-protein coding gene products which can regulate the gene expression through post-transcriptional inhibition of messenger RNA (mRNA) translation. They are known to be involved in many essential biological processes including development, insulin secretion, and adipocyte differentiation. miRNAs are involved in complex metabolic processes, such as energy and lipid metabolism, which have been studied in the context of diabetes and obesity. Obesity, hyperlipidemia (elevated levels of blood lipids), and insulin resistance are strongly associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes. These conditions are also associated with aberrant expression of multiple essential miRNAs in pancreatic islets of Langerhans and peripheral tissues, including adipose tissue. A thorough understanding of the physiological role these miRNAs play in these tissues, and changes to their expression under pathological conditions, will allow researchers to develop new therapeutics with the potential to correct the aberrant expression of miRNAs in type 2 diabetes and obesity.