Understanding Cholesterol and Lipid Metabolism

Lipids are important for homeostasis and several aspects of reproduction, cellular and organ physiology; however, they are also associated with pathological conditions like diabetes, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome. C-reactive proteins (C-RPs), apolipoproteins, fatty acid synthase (FAS), spingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), and fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) are some of them that have vital roles to play.


Apolipoproteins consist of many main classes labeled alphabetically. Their subclasses are mentioned with specific numbers (for example, ApoA1, ApoA2, ApoA3, etc.). The ratio of ApoB (primarily LDL) to ApoA1 (HDL-C) is an excellent indicator of cardiovascular risk. FABPs are expressed in a tissue-specific way and transport fatty acids to and from cellular compartments. Some play key roles in controlling metabolism, for example, adipocyte FABP (aP2), which is involved in atherosclerosis and can influence lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Hepatic C-RP Synthesis

C-RP, a key inflammatory marker, is chiefly produced in the liver; however, it is also synthesized in the kidney, atherosclerotic lesions, neurons, and alveolar macrophages. Its physiological function is to attach to phosphatidylcholine present on the surface of dead or dying cells (and some bacteria) to stimulate the complement system through the C1Q complex. Hepatic C-RP synthesis is triggered by the adipokines IL-6 and leptin, and down-regulated by adiponectin. It has been demonstrated that C-RP weakens insulin signaling and leads to atherothrombosis.


Production of fatty acid (de novo) is because of the unique mammalian enzyme, FAS, the gene expression of which in adipose tissue is associated with weakened insulin sensitivity, accumulation of visceral fat, increased circulation of fasting insulin, RBP4, IL-6, and leptin. Furthermore, FAS is highly expressed in a majority of the human carcinomas and is linked to poor prognosis in prostate and breast cancer. FAS and fatty acid metabolism in cancer has turned out to be a focus for the possible diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

S1P, which is also known as a bioactive lipid mediator, is a signaling sphingolipid. S1P is usually present on lipoproteins, specifically HDL, and albumin is present in the circulation. Collective data seems to find a new role for sphingolipids in contributing to the proinflammatory and prothrombotic phenotype of the obese adipose tissue presently supposed to play a key role in the pathogenesis of obesity-mediated metabolic and cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol Metabolism Pathway

In biological process, cholesterol is a highly significant molecule. It is also of functional significance in membrane structure and as a precursor of bile acids, hormones, and Vitamin D.

The synthesis of cholesterol starts with the transport of acetyl-CoA, which also involves several other steps apart from isoprenoid intermediates, mevalonate pathway intermediates synthesizing prenylated proteins, dolichol, coenzyme-Q, and the heme etc. BioVision takes pride in offering a range of tools for the study of cholesterol metabolism.

About BioVision Incorporated

BioVision, Inc., is a privately held Life Science company headquartered in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area.

BioVision develops and offers a wide variety of products including assay kits, antibodies, recombinant proteins & enzymes, and other innovative research tools for studying Apoptosis, Metabolism, Cell Proliferation, Cellular Stress, Cell Damage and Repair, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome, Stem Cell Biology, Gene Regulation, Signal Transduction, etc. BioVision's products are currently being sold in more than 60 countries worldwide.

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Last updated: Feb 21, 2020 at 9:30 AM


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