Horm Metab Res 2009; 41(2): 123-131
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1119378

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Cardiovascular Effects of Disturbed Insulin Activity in Metabolic Syndrome and in Type 2 Diabetic Patients

T. Forst 1 , C. Hohberg 1 , A. Pfützner 1
  • 1Institute for Clinical Research and Development, Mainz, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

received 22.09.2008

accepted 08.12.2008

Publication Date:
12 February 2009 (online)


The metabolic syndrome is associated with an excess of increase in cardiovascular complications. Disturbances in insulin efficacy and insulin secretion are major features of the metabolic syndrome and might precede the development of diabetes mellitus by decades. Recent investigations highlighted the link between disturbances in insulin physiology and subsequent mechanisms of atherosclerosis. Insulin resistance is an early feature of increasing visceral adipose tissue and is directly associated to the activation of a couple of atherogenic pathways, including inflammation and the activation of the mitogen-activated proteinkinase pathway accelerating the atherogenic process. In patients with normal beta-cell function, insulin resistance is compensated by increased insulin release from the beta cells to keep blood glucose levels compensated. In those patients, genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes, beta-cell function deteriorates with the development of timely, qualitative and quantitative insulin secretion disorders, and the development of overt diabetes mellitus. The coexistence of insulin resistance with functional beta cell failure results in loss of blood glucose control especially after a meal and increases the cardiovascular risk of these patients far beyond the increased glucose levels.



T. Forst, MD 

Professor Internal Medicine

Institute for Clinical Research and Development

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