Most of the essays in this volume have adopted a reductionist approach and have focused on the biochemistry either in skeletal muscle or in the vascular wall. There is however a complex interaction between the biochemistry in the endothelium of the microvascular wall, the vascular smooth muscle and the skeletal muscle fibres involving signalling pathways in the three tissues and an intense exchange of signal molecules between them. In the present essay an integrative overview is given of this complex metabolic interaction and the impairments in it that lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.A reduced nitric oxide production by the (micro)vascular endothelium is identified as the key event and is reversible by regular exercise and a reduced calorie intake. The chapter also contains a description of the complex metabolic network controlled by the inducible transcription factor nuclear factor-κB, that is activated in more advanced stages of the chronic diseases, and either leads to repair of the microvascular wall or to irreversible damage and the severe complications of end stage cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

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