Neurogenic Obesity-Induced Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

Phillip S. Gordon, Gary J. Farkas, David R. Gater

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The population with SCI is at a significant risk for both insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) secondary to neurogenic obesity. The prevalence of insulin resistance and T2DM in persons with SCI suggests that disorders of carbohydrate metabolism are at epidemic proportions within the population. However, the true frequency of such disorders may be underestimated because biomarkers of insulin resistance and T2DM used from the population without SCI remain nonspecific and may in fact fail to identify true cases that would benefit from intervention. Furthermore, diet and exercise have been used to help mitigate neurogenic obesity, but results on disorders of carbohydrate metabolism remain inconsistent, likely because of the various ways carbohydrate metabolism is assessed. The objective of this article is to review current literature on the prevalence and likely mechanisms driving insulin resistance and T2DM in persons with SCI. This article also explores the various assessments and diagnostic criteria used for insulin resistance and T2DM and briefly discusses the effects of exercise and/or diet to mitigate disorders of carbohydrate metabolism brought on by neurogenic obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-56
Number of pages21
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • adipose tissue
  • diabetes mellitus
  • exercise
  • impaired glucose tolerance
  • insulin resistance
  • neurogenic obesity
  • spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology


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