Medical research

Researchers make visible how AIDS pathogens multiply in the body

In order to treat diseases, researchers must understand how they arise. A European research team led by Prof. Christian Eggeling from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Immune response against Toxocara roundworms helps explain disease

Neurotoxocarosis (NT) occurs in humans when larvae of the Toxocara roundworm migrate into the central nervous system. That infection is accompanied by a complex molecular signaling cascade, including changes to anti-inflammatory ...

Overweight & Obesity

Probiotic supplements may enhance weight loss in obese children

Probiotic supplements may enhance weight loss and improve the metabolic health of obese children folowing a diet and exercise plan, according to research presented today at the 58th Annual European Society for Paediatric ...

Health

Lack of sleep affects fat metabolism

We're all a little short on sleep during the work week. A new study adds to the mounting evidence about just how harmful lack of sleep can be. In the Journal of Lipid Research, researchers at Pennsylvania State University ...

Overweight & Obesity

New study shows why people gain weight as they get older

Many people struggle to keep their weight in check as they get older. Now, new research at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has uncovered why that is: Lipid turnover in the fat tissue decreases during aging and makes it easier ...

Oncology & Cancer

Study identifies an Achilles heel of many types of cancer

A Ludwig Cancer Research study has uncovered a novel vulnerability in tumors that are driven by a common cancer gene known as MYC. Such cancers, it found, are highly dependent on the cell's machinery for making fats and other ...

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Lipid

Lipids are a broad group of naturally-occurring molecules which includes fats, waxes, sterols, fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A, D, E and K), monoglycerides, diglycerides, phospholipids, and others. The main biological functions of lipids include energy storage, as structural components of cell membranes, and as important signaling molecules.

Lipids may be broadly defined as hydrophobic or amphiphilic small molecules; the amphiphilic nature of some lipids allows them to form structures such as vesicles, liposomes, or membranes in an aqueous environment. Biological lipids originate entirely or in part from two distinct types of biochemical subunits or "building blocks": ketoacyl and isoprene groups. Using this approach, lipids may be divided into eight categories: fatty acyls, glycerolipids, glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, saccharolipids and polyketides (derived from condensation of ketoacyl subunits); and sterol lipids and prenol lipids (derived from condensation of isoprene subunits).

Although the term lipid is sometimes used as a synonym for fats, fats are a subgroup of lipids called triglycerides. Lipids also encompass molecules such as fatty acids and their derivatives (including tri-, di-, and monoglycerides and phospholipids), as well as other sterol-containing metabolites such as cholesterol. Although humans and other mammals use various biosynthetic pathways to both break down and synthesize lipids, some essential lipids cannot be made this way and must be obtained from the diet.

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