Insulin resistance is a key feature of the metabolic syndrome, a cluster of medical disorders that together increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In turn, type 2 diabetes may cause complications such as diabetic kidney disease (DKD). Obesity is a major risk factor for developing systemic insulin resistance, and skeletal muscle is the first tissue in susceptible individuals to lose its insulin responsiveness. Interestingly, lean individuals are not immune to insulin resistance either. Non-obese, non-diabetic subjects with chronic kidney disease (CKD), for example, exhibit insulin resistance at the very onset of CKD, even before clinical symptoms of renal failure are clear. This uraemic insulin resistance contributes to the muscle weakness and muscle wasting that many CKD patients face, especially during the later stages of the disease. Bioenergetic failure has been associated with the loss of skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity in obesity and uraemia, as well as in the development of kidney disease and its sarcopenic complications. In this mini review, we evaluate how mitochondrial activity of different renal cell types changes during DKD progression, and discuss the controversial role of oxidative stress and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species in DKD. We also compare the involvement of skeletal muscle mitochondria in uraemic and obesity-related muscle insulin resistance.
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