Lipofuscin: formation, distribution, and metabolic consequences

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Nov:1119:97-111. doi: 10.1196/annals.1404.008.


One of the highlights of postmitotic aging is the intracellular accumulation of highly oxidized and cross-linked proteins, known as lipofuscin. Lipofuscin is insoluble and not degradable by lysosomal enzymes or the proteasomal system, which is responsible for the recognition and degradation of misfolded and oxidatively damaged proteins. These aggregates have been found in various cell types, including heart, liver, kidney, neuronal tissue, and dermal tissue, and are associated with the life span of a single postmitotic cell and, consequently, of the whole organism. Lipofuscin formation appears to depend on the rate of oxidative damage to proteins, the functionality of mitochondrial repair systems, the proteasomal system, and the functionality and effectiveness of the lysosomes. This review highlights the current knowledge of the formation, distribution, and effects of lipofuscin in mammalian cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Aging / pathology
  • Animals
  • Cellular Senescence*
  • Humans
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism*
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Lysosomes / pathology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Lipofuscin
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex