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Insulin & Fat Accumulation

The role of insulin on GLUT4 receptors in adipocytes


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  • After a surplus of carbohydrate is eaten, insulin is released from the pancreas.
  • If muscle and liver glycogen stores are depleted say after intense exercise, these glycogen stores will be replaced and any surplus will be converted to fat as a form of energy storage for a ‘rainy day’
  • Insulin binds to its receptor and causes the GLUT4 receptors bound to the membranous vesicle to migrate to the adipose cell membrane.
  • Insulin causes a 30-fold increase in the rate of transport of glucose through GLUT4 receptors into the fat cell [adipocyte]1
  • The organelles including mitochondria, are displaced to the periphery by the large central fat droplet which stores the triglycerides formed from glucose.
  • The liver also uses the excess glucose to form triglycerides which are then packaged into VLDL [very low-density lipoprotein] which in turn transport the liver produced triglycerides to adipocytes for storage.

NutriDesk Tutorial

  • An excess of carbohydrate in the diet will result in high blood glucose levels. 
  • The liver and adipocytes are flooded with glucose.
  • This tutorial will explain how inhibition the glycolytic pathway and the Ci tric Acid Cycle beyond Citrate occurs.
  • Lipogenesis [fat synthesis] is thus stimulated
  • To understand the biochemical mechanisms of fat synthesis and how fat accumulation and obesity occurs, please click on the Free Tutorial graphic


Salway, J. and D. Granner (2004). Metabolism at a Glance, Blackwell Pub. [p 28]

Hormone & Hormone Metabolite References

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Hormone & Hormone Metabolite References