August Krogh Inaugural lecture by Kurt Højlund

Exercising with the mechanisms of muscle insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: Past and Future

v/ Kurt Højlund, Associate professor, MD, PhD, Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital Section of Molecular Diabetes & Metabolism, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark.

Kurt Højlund has been appointed adjoint professor at Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen.


In collaboration with the group of professor Jørgen Wojtaszewski at the August Krogh Centre, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports the research group of Kurt Højlund has focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance in human skeletal muscle. Their studies have demonstrated impaired insulin action on Akt, TBC1D4 and glycogen synthase in the insulin signaling to glucose transport and glycogen synthesis in skeletal muscle in obesity, type 2 diabetes, PCOS and carriers of a mutation in the insulin receptor gene (INSR). This includes studies of the reversibility of insulin signaling defects in response to acute hyperglycemia, endurance training and acute exercise.

Moreover research from his group including transcriptional profiling, proteomics and studies of isolated mitochondria indicates that abnormalities in mitochondrial oxidative metabolism are linked to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle in obesity, type 2 diabetes and PCOS, and that these defects are partly reversible. Interestingly, a recent study of INSR mutation carriers demonstrate that mitochondrial dysfunction could be consequence of insulin resistance. The group of Kurt Højlund is currently investigating the potential role of abnormalities in autophagy, unfolded protein response and reversible phosphorylation of mitochondrial proteins in skeletal muscle in insulin resistant conditions.

Key publications for the talk

A PGC-1α- and muscle fibre type-related decrease in markers of mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in skeletal muscle of humans with inherited insulin resistance.
Kristensen JM, Højlund K et al. Diabetologia. 2014 Feb 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Hyperglycaemia normalises insulin action on glucose metabolism but not the impaired activation of AKT and glycogen synthase in the skeletal muscle of patients with type 2 diabetes.
Vind BF, Højlund K et al, Diabetologia (2012) 55:1435–1445 

Research profile

Dr. Kurt Højlund is an associate professor at the Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance in humans. Combining metabolic characterization with studies of tissue samples using classical protein chemistry as well as transcriptomics and mass-spectrometry-based phosphoproteomics the aim is to identify promising targets for the treatment of insulin resistance in common metabolic disorders.


This seminar is presented in collaboration with the research programme "Physical activity and nutrition for improvement of health" funded by the UCPH Excellence Programme for Interdisciplinary Research (2016).


28 February 2014

14:00-15:00: Seminar and discussion
15:00-15:30: Post seminar servings and socializing


Auditorium 1, August Krogh Building, Universitetsparken 13, DK-2100 Copenhagen


Participation is free, but please register here.

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