Tissue Biopsies in Diabetes Research

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearch


Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance in major metabolic tissues such as skeletal muscle, liver and fat cells, and failure of the pancreatic ß-cells to compensate for this abnormality (1,2). Skeletal muscle is the major site of glucose disposal in response to insulin, and insulin resistance of glucose disposal and glycogen synthesis in this tissue are hallmark features of type 2 diabetes in humans (2,3). During the past two decades, we have carried out more than 1200 needle biopsies of skeletal muscle to study the cellular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes. Together with morphological studies, measurement of energy stores and metabolites, enzyme activity and phosphorylation, gene and protein expression in skeletal muscle biopsies have revealed a variety of cellular abnormalities in patients with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. The possibility to establish human muscle cell cultures from muscle biopsies of diabetic subjects has further extended our possibilities to study cellular mechanisms of insulin resistance and potentially distinguish between primary and secondary defects (3). More recently, the application of global approaches such as proteomics and gene expression profiling on skeletal muscle biopsies have pointed to abnormalities in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in type 2 diabetes. These novel insights will inevitably cause a renewed interest in studying skeletal muscle. This chapter reviews our experience to date and gives a thorough description of the technique of percutaneous needle biopsy of skeletal muscle and the establishment of human muscle cell cultures together with a discussion of advantages and limitations of the methods in diabetes research
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClinical Diabetes Research : Methods and Techniques
EditorsMichael Roden
Number of pages24
Place of PublicationLondon, Storbritanien
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd
Publication date2007
ISBN (Print)9780470017289
ISBN (Electronic)9780470513095
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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