Lysosomal lipid storage diseases

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2011 Jun 1;3(6):a004804. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a004804.


Lysosomal lipid storage diseases, or lipidoses, are inherited metabolic disorders in which typically lipids accumulate in cells and tissues. Complex lipids, such as glycosphingolipids, are constitutively degraded within the endolysosomal system by soluble hydrolytic enzymes with the help of lipid binding proteins in a sequential manner. Because of a functionally impaired hydrolase or auxiliary protein, their lipid substrates cannot be degraded, accumulate in the lysosome, and slowly spread to other intracellular membranes. In Niemann-Pick type C disease, cholesterol transport is impaired and unesterified cholesterol accumulates in the late endosome. In most lysosomal lipid storage diseases, the accumulation of one or few lipids leads to the coprecipitation of other hydrophobic substances in the endolysosomal system, such as lipids and proteins, causing a "traffic jam." This can impair lysosomal function, such as delivery of nutrients through the endolysosomal system, leading to a state of cellular starvation. Therapeutic approaches are currently restricted to mild forms of diseases with significant residual catabolic activities and without brain involvement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Endocytosis
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipidoses / metabolism*
  • Lipidoses / pathology
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / metabolism*
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / pathology
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Sphingolipids / chemistry
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism
  • Sphingolipids / physiology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Sphingolipids