G protein-coupled receptors for free fatty acids

Cell Signal. 2006 Sep;18(9):1360-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2006.03.011. Epub 2006 Mar 30.


Free fatty acids (FFAs) are not only an important direct source of energy but they also play key roles in regulating a range of physiological responses. Although it was long assumed that such effects of FFAs must occur following cellular uptake, and potentially via their conversion to fatty acyl-CoAs, it is now apparent that FFAs also function directly as agonists at a number of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Tissue distribution studies and, subsequently, siRNA knock-down experiments have indicated key roles for these GPCRs in glucose homeostasis, adipogenesis, white cell recruitment and potentially in a range of other processes. Considerable interest is thus now centred on the generation of potent and selective small molecule ligands, both as tool compounds to further unravel the biology and physiological role of this group of GPCRs and as starting points for possible therapeutic intervention in a range of areas, particularly those associated with 'metabolic syndrome'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Protein Isoforms
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled