Accumulation of lipid in skeletal muscle is thought to be related to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Initial work in this area focused on accumulation of intramuscular triglyceride; however, bioactive lipids such as diacylglycerols and sphingolipids are now thought to play an important role. Specific species of these lipids appear to be more negative toward insulin sensitivity than others. Adding another layer of complexity, localization of lipids within the cell appears to influence the relationship between these lipids and insulin sensitivity. This article summarizes how accumulation of total lipids, specific lipid species, and localization of lipids influence insulin sensitivity in humans. We then focus on how these aspects of muscle lipids are impacted by acute and chronic aerobic and resistance exercise training. By understanding how exercise alters specific species and localization of lipids, it may be possible to uncover specific lipids that most heavily impact insulin sensitivity.
- Received November 4, 2019.
- Accepted February 17, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association