After food ingestion, macronutrients are transported to and stored in the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. They can be subsequently used as an energy source in times of energy deprivation. Uptake of these nutrients in myocytes and adipocytes depends largely on adequate tissue perfusion. Interestingly, insulin is able to dilate skeletal muscle arterioles, which facilitates the delivery of nutrients and insulin itself to muscle tissue.
Insulin-stimulated skeletal muscle perfusion is impaired in several insulin-resistant states and is believed to contribute to impaired skeletal muscle and consequently whole-body glucose uptake. Insulin-resistant individuals also exhibit blunted postprandial adipose tissue perfusion. However, the relevance of this impairment to metabolic dysregulation is less clear.
In this review, we provide an overview of adipose tissue perfusion in healthy and insulin-resistant individuals, its regulation among others by insulin, and the possible influences of impaired adipose tissue perfusion on whole-body insulin sensitivity. Finally, we propose a novel hypothesis that acute overfeeding impacts distribution of macronutrients by reducing skeletal muscle perfusion, while adipose tissue perfusion remains intact.