It is proposed that an important function of leptin is to confine the storage of triglycerides (TG) to the adipocytes, while limiting TG storage in nonadipocytes, thus protecting them from lipotoxicity. The fact that TG content in nonadipocytes normally remains within a narrow range, while that of adipocytes varies enormously with food intake, is consistent with a system of TG homeostasis in normal nonadipocytes. The facts that when leptin receptors are dysfunctional, TG content in nonadipocytes such as islets can increase 100-fold, and that constitutively expressed ectopic hyperleptinemia depletes TG, suggest that leptin controls the homeostatic system for intracellular TG. The fact that the function and viability of nonadipocytes is compromised when their TG content rises above or falls below the normal range suggests that normal homeostasis of their intracellular TG is critical for optimal function and to prevent lipoapoptosis. Thus far, lipotoxic diabetes of fa/fa Zucker diabetic fatty rats is the only proven lipodegenerative disease, but the possibility of lipotoxic disease of skeletal and/or cardiac muscle may require investigation, as does the possible influence of the intracellular TG content on autoimmune and neoplastic processes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Mar 2 1999|
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