The lipid droplets serve as energy storage depots

Lipids enter the cells as free fatty acids or free cholesterol. These lipids can also be produced (synthesized) by the hepatocyte itself. However, high concentrations of free fatty acids and cholesterol can damage cells.

Therefore, they are converted by hepatocytes (biotransformed or detoxified) into non-toxic neutral lipids, e.g. diacylglycerols and triacylglycerids. During this conversion, free fatty acids and cholesterol are coesterified.

  • "New" neutral lipids can form lipid droplets (which also contain the remainder of free fatty acids, cholesterols, and also phospholipids).
  • The lipid droplets serve as energy storage for later use in the hepatocyte. They can move within the hepatocyte, skate around on the cytoskeleton, and physically interact with organelles. Lipid droplets can also “escape” the hepatocyte: droplets migrate to the sinusoidal membrane of the hepatocyte, fuse with the membrane and are released into the blood in the form of lipoproteins.
  • Author of text and image: Iryna Ilkavets

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