Alzheimer's disease & dementia

New molecule reverses Alzheimer's-like memory decline

A drug candidate developed by Salk researchers, and previously shown to slow aging in brain cells, successfully reversed memory loss in a mouse model of inherited Alzheimer's disease. The new research, published online in ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Fat-based molecules are key to Zika virus infection

Certain fat-based molecules required for Zika virus infection in human cells could provide clues to why the virus primarily infects brain tissue, particularly in a developing fetus or newborn.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Biomedical researchers get closer to why eczema happens

A new study from researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York may help to peel back the layers of unhealthy skin—at least metaphorically speaking—and get closer to a cure.

Oncology & Cancer

Loss of lipid-regulating gene fuels prostate cancer spread

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers from the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences identified a lipid-regulating protein that conveys what the researchers describe as "superpowers" onto ...

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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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