Membrane Flexibility and Cellular Energy Management in Type 2 Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes, and Obesity

*Rob N.M. Weijers

Teaching Hospital, Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
*Correspondence to

Disclosure: No potential conflict of interest.
Received: 10.04.14 Accepted: 01.08.14
Citation: EMJ Diabet. 2014;2:65-72.


In the search to understand the onset of life’s biochemistry, scientists attached a great deal of importance to unravelling the replication mechanism of a cell, and the cell membrane was accepted as an indispensable entity. In this review, we give an account of the recent progress of the understanding that the cell membrane has also continuously evolved over the long-term, leading to the important insight that the membrane unsaturation index (USI) – a measure of unsaturation – plays a pivotal role in the basal metabolic rate of a cell and in the aetiology of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). It is now clear that increasing the USI with long- term interventions – in the form of aerobic exercise and caloric restriction – can contribute to the prevention or postponement of the onset of T2DM, gestational diabetes, and prediabetic obesity.

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