Table of Contents
New Journal of Science
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 635146, 21 pages
Review Article

Genetic Dissection of the Physiological Role of Skeletal Muscle in Metabolic Syndrome

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Received 18 May 2014; Accepted 6 August 2014; Published 19 August 2014

Academic Editor: Hui-Qi Qu

Copyright © 2014 Nobuko Hagiwara. 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.


The primary deficiency underlying metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance, in which insulin-responsive peripheral tissues fail to maintain glucose homeostasis. Because skeletal muscle is the major site for insulin-induced glucose uptake, impairments in skeletal muscle’s insulin responsiveness play a major role in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. For example, skeletal muscle of type 2 diabetes patients and their offspring exhibit reduced ratios of slow oxidative muscle. These observations suggest the possibility of applying muscle remodeling to recover insulin sensitivity in metabolic syndrome. Skeletal muscle is highly adaptive to external stimulations such as exercise; however, in practice it is often not practical or possible to enforce the necessary intensity to obtain measurable benefits to the metabolic syndrome patient population. Therefore, identifying molecular targets for inducing muscle remodeling would provide new approaches to treat metabolic syndrome. In this review, the physiological properties of skeletal muscle, genetic analysis of metabolic syndrome in human populations and model organisms, and genetically engineered mouse models will be discussed in regard to the prospect of applying skeletal muscle remodeling as possible therapy for metabolic syndrome.