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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jun;1791(6):448-58. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2008.08.001. Epub 2008 Aug 13.

Lipid droplets as dynamic organelles connecting storage and efflux of lipids.

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Sahlgrenska Center for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Wallenberg Laboratory, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-413 45 Göteborg, Sweden.


Neutral lipids are stored in the cytosol in so-called lipid droplets. These are dynamic organelles with neutral lipids as the core surrounded by a monolayer of amphipathic lipids (phospholipids and cholesterol) and specific proteins (PAT proteins and proteins involved in the turnover of lipids and in the formation and trafficking of the droplets). Lipid droplets are formed at microsomal membranes as primordial droplets with a diameter of 0.1-0.4 microm and increase in size by fusion. In this article, we review the assembly and fusion of lipid droplets, and the processes involved in the secretion of triglycerides. Triglycerides are secreted from cells by two principally different processes. In the mammary gland, lipid droplets interact with specific regions of the plasma membrane and bud off with an envelope consisting of the membrane, to form milk globules. In the liver and intestine, very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) and chylomicrons are secreted by using the secretory pathway of the cell. Finally, we briefly review the importance of lipid droplets in the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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