Send to

Choose Destination
J Hum Genet. 2014 Jan;59(1):16-23. doi: 10.1038/jhg.2013.107. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Exploring the pathophysiology behind the more common genetic and acquired lipodystrophies.

Author information

Graduate Entry Medical School, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.


Lipodystrophies are an immense group of genetic or acquired metabolic disorders that are characterized by varying degrees of body fat loss and in some instances localized accumulation of subcutaneous fat. Lipodystrophies are often tightly linked with profound metabolic complications; this strong bond emphasizes and reinforces the significance of adipose tissue as a dynamic endocrine organ. The extent of fat loss determines the severity of associated metabolic complications such as diabetes mellitus, hypertriglyceridemia and hepatic steatosis. The lipodystrophies can be divided into generalized, partial or local, depending on the degree and locality of the observable fat loss; moreover, the generalized and partial divisions can be partitioned further into inherited or acquired forms. The major genetic factors in the generalized forms of the lipodystrophies, particularly Congenital generalized lipodystrophy (CGL)-Berardinelli-Seip syndrome, are the AGPAT2, BSCL2, caveolin 1 (CAV1) and polymerase-I-and-transcriptrelease factor (PTRF) genes. In the acquired forms, genes such as LMNA, PPARG, CIDEC (cell-death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor a-like effector c) and PLIN1 are heavily involved in familial partial lipodystrophy (FPLD) type 2 (also known as the Dunnigan-Variety) and WRN along with RECQL5 in Werner Syndrome (WS). Autoimmune causes are particularly noted in acquired partial lipodystrophy (APL)-Barraquer-Simons syndrome and in AGL-Lawrence syndrome; panniculitis has been shown to have a substantial role in the former as well as in other forms of localized lipodystrophies. Patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exposed to protease inhibitors, nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) (for example, zidovudine and stavudine) or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) (for example, efavirenz) while undergoing Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) have led to the current most-prevalent form of the lipodystrophies: lipodystrophy in HIV-infected patients (LD-HIV) and HAART-associated lipodystrophy syndrome (HALS).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center