Lipodystrophy: Lessons in lipid and energy metabolism

Vinaya Simha, Abhimanyu Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Lipodystrophies are rare inherited and acquired disorders characterized by the selective loss of adipose tissue. Despite marked phenotypic and genotypic heterogeneity, most lipodystrophic syndromes predispose to similar metabolic complications seen in patients with obesity, such as insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, hepatic steatosis and dyslipidemia. The purpose of this review is to highlight the current understanding of the mechanisms underlying dyslipidemia in patients with lipodystrophies. Recent findings: Marked hypertriglyceridemia and reduced levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol are commonly seen, and the severity of these metabolic abnormalities seems to be related to the extent of fat loss. The precise mechanisms by which the lack of adipose tissue causes hypertriglyceridemia remain unknown. Anecdotal kinetic studies in hyperglycemic patients with lipodystrophies have revealed accelerated lipolysis and increased free fatty acid turnover, which drives hepatic triglyceride and very low-density lipoprotein synthesis. Other mechanisms may also be involved in causing dyslipidemia and ectopic triglyceride accumulation in the liver and skeletal muscles that remain to be identified. Summary: Understanding the pathophysiology of dyslipidemia in these rare disorders of lipodystrophies may offer insights into the normal role of adipocytes in maintaining metabolic homeostasis, and its disturbances in common forms of obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-169
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent opinion in lipidology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Dyslipidemia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Lipodystrophy
  • Lipoproteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Lipodystrophy: Lessons in lipid and energy metabolism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this