JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Regulation of energy metabolism by long-chain fatty acids

Manabu T Nakamura, Barbara E Yudell, Juan J Loor
Progress in Lipid Research 2014, 53: 124-44
24362249
In mammals, excess energy is stored primarily as triglycerides, which are mobilized when energy demands arise. This review mainly focuses on the role of long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) in regulating energy metabolism as ligands of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). PPAR-alpha expressed primarily in liver is essential for metabolic adaptation to starvation by inducing genes for beta-oxidation and ketogenesis and by downregulating energy expenditure through fibroblast growth factor 21. PPAR-delta is highly expressed in skeletal muscle and induces genes for LCFA oxidation during fasting and endurance exercise. PPAR-delta also regulates glucose metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis by inducing FOXO1 and PGC1-alpha. Genes targeted by PPAR-gamma in adipocytes suggest that PPAR-gamma senses incoming non-esterified LCFAs and induces the pathways to store LCFAs as triglycerides. Adiponectin, another important target of PPAR-gamma may act as a spacer between adipocytes to maintain their metabolic activity and insulin sensitivity. Another topic of this review is effects of skin LCFAs on energy metabolism. Specific LCFAs are required for the synthesis of skin lipids, which are essential for water barrier and thermal insulation functions of the skin. Disturbance of skin lipid metabolism often causes apparent resistance to developing obesity at the expense of normal skin function.

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