Lipid droplets, potential biomarker and metabolic target in glioblastoma

Feng Geng, Deliang Guo


Lipid droplets (LDs) are subcellular organelles that store large amount of the neutral lipids, triglycerides (TG) and/or cholesteryl esters (CE). LDs are commonly formed in adipocytes, liver cells and macrophages, and their formation has been shown to be associated with the progression of metabolic diseases, i.e., obesity, fatty liver and atherosclerosis. Interestingly, LDs are also found in some tumor tissues. We recently showed that LDs are prevalent in glioblastoma (GBM), the most deadly brain tumor, but are not detectable in low-grade gliomas and normal brain tissues, suggesting that LDs may serve as a novel diagnostic biomarker for GBM. This short review will briefly introduce LD biology, summarize recent observations about LDs in several types of cancer tissues, and discuss LD formation in GBM. Moreover, we will highlight the role of SOAT1 (sterol-O transferase 1), a key enzyme regulating CE synthesis and LD formation in GBM, in the regulation of SREBP (sterol regulatory-element binding protein) activation. The therapeutic potential of LDs and SOAT1 will be discussed. 

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