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Present and future studies on lipogenesis in animals and human subjects

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2007

Richard G. Vernon*
Hannah Research Institute, Ayr KA6 5HL, UK
Michael C. Barber
Hannah Research Institute, Ayr KA6 5HL, UK
Maureen T. Travers
Hannah Research Institute, Ayr KA6 5HL, UK
*Corresponding Author: Dr Richard Vernon, fax +44 (0)1292 674003, email
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Lipogenesis occurs in all vertebrate species and has a critical role in energy balance, providing a means whereby excess energy can be stored as a fat. The metabolic pathways involved and their tissue distribution in different species, including man, are well known. The responses of lipogenesis to diet and to physiological and pathological states have been the subject of many studies. At a molecular level the major rate-controlling enzymes have been identified and their acute, and to a lesser extent chronic, control by hormones have been investigated extensively. However, there is no reason to suppose that all factors regarding lipogenesis have been identified (e.g. the recent discovery of acylation-stimulating protein). Little is known about the movement of newly-synthesized triacylglycerols in cells, either for secretion or storage. The production of leptin and tumour necrosis factor α by adipocytes provides a novel means of feedback control of triacylglycerol production, leptin by decreasing appetite and tumour necrosis factor α by inducing insulin resistance. The synthesis of these peptides appears to vary with the amount of triacylglycerol in adipocytes, but the molecular basis of this process is unknown. Elucidation of the signalling systems involved in the acute and chronic regulation of lipogenesis is also important, both with respect to some homeorhetic adaptations and also in some pathological conditions (e.g. non-insulin-dependent diabetes). Finally, molecular biology is revealing unexpected complexities, such as multiple promoters and different isoforms of enzymes (e.g. acetyl-CoA carboxylase; EC exhibiting tissue specificity. Molecular biology, through transgenesis, also offers novel and powerful means of manipulating lipogenesis.

Symposium on ‘Lipogenesis in farm animals’
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1999


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