Lipid droplets and cellular lipid metabolism

Annu Rev Biochem. 2012:81:687-714. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-061009-102430. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


Among organelles, lipid droplets (LDs) uniquely constitute a hydrophobic phase in the aqueous environment of the cytosol. Their hydrophobic core of neutral lipids stores metabolic energy and membrane components, making LDs hubs for lipid metabolism. In addition, LDs are implicated in a number of other cellular functions, ranging from protein storage and degradation to viral replication. These processes are functionally linked to many physiological and pathological conditions, including obesity and related metabolic diseases. Despite their important functions and nearly ubiquitous presence in cells, many aspects of LD biology are unknown. In the past few years, the pace of LD investigation has increased, providing new insights. Here, we review the current knowledge of LD cell biology and its translation to physiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells / chemistry
  • Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipids / chemistry*
  • Lipolysis
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Organelles / metabolism


  • Lipids