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Front Mol Neurosci. 2018 Jan 23;11:10. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00010. eCollection 2018.

Neuronal Lipid Metabolism: Multiple Pathways Driving Functional Outcomes in Health and Disease.

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Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.


Lipids are a fundamental class of organic molecules implicated in a wide range of biological processes related to their structural diversity, and based on this can be broadly classified into five categories; fatty acids, triacylglycerols (TAGs), phospholipids, sterol lipids and sphingolipids. Different lipid classes play major roles in neuronal cell populations; they can be used as energy substrates, act as building blocks for cellular structural machinery, serve as bioactive molecules, or a combination of each. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), dysfunctions in lipid metabolism and function have been identified as potential drivers of pathogenesis. In particular, aberrant lipid metabolism is proposed to underlie denervation of neuromuscular junctions, mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, impaired neuronal transport, cytoskeletal defects, inflammation and reduced neurotransmitter release. Here we review current knowledge of the roles of lipid metabolism and function in the CNS and discuss how modulating these pathways may offer novel therapeutic options for treating ALS.


amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; glycosphingolipid; lipid metabolism; mitochondria; neuronal metabolism

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