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Lipids That Play An Important Role In Our Systems

Jun 18, 2008
Lipids have a variety of functions in the human body which have increasing been under eh spotlight in recent years. A multidisciplinary book, Lipids in health and nutrition addresses the chemical, biochemical and physiological aspects of these widely occurring compounds.

Lipids are biomolecules which are soluble in organic non-polar solvents. Consequently, fats and lipids are insoluble in water. Lipids, along with proteins and carbohydrates, are vital components of living cells. Compounds considered lipids include fats, oils, fatty acids, triglycerides and steroids-- including cholesterol.

Lipids perform many important roles. They are the highly concentrated fuel reserves that reside mostly in our adipose tissues. Lipids in Health and Disease is an Open Access, peer-reviewed, online journal that publishes articles on all aspects of lipids: their biochemistry, pharmacology , toxicology , role in health and disease, and the synthesis of new lipid compounds.

Lipids in Health and Disease is aimed at all scientists, health professionals and physicians interested in the area of lipids. Lipids can undergo lateral diffusion at a rate of about 2 m m/s. This implies that the lipids can transit the surface of a bacteria in 1 sec.

Lipids are also known as fats, but they include compounds of many different kinds. Chemically, these compounds are built on a backbone of glycerol, which was a three-carbon chain.

Cellulose makes up the cell wall of plants whereas chitin provides structure to fungi and the exoskeleton of arthropods. Cells from the innate immune system, so-called dendritic cells, respond to these lipids. During this response these cells can initiate the development of so-called regulatory T-cells.

Fats come in liquid or solid form. All fats are combinations of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Fats and oils contain twice as much stored energy, per unit of weight, as carbohydrates or proteins.

Plant foods such as nuts, whole grains. Nuts, avocados, olive oil, and canola oil are rich in monounsaturated fat. Plant phenolic compounds arise biogenetically from two main pathways - shikimic acid pathway, as hydroxycinnamic acids and coumarins, and the polyketide (acetate) pathway. Some other phenolics can be produced by combination of these two pathways.

Lipids have a number of specialized functions. In mammals living in cold climates, subcutaneous fat retards loss of body heat. Lipids are the important components of biomembranes. They are classified into storage lipids and membrane lipids. Lipids include a variety of molecular types, such as neutral fats, oils, steroids, and waxes. Unlike other classes of biomolecules, lipids do not form large polymers.

Lipids of group B are linked to nucleotide diphosphate coupled alcohol. They represent the largest group of lipids in mitochondria and cytoplasmatic membranes. Lipids are categorized into two broad classes.

The first, simple lipids, upon hydrolysis, yield -- at most -- two types of primary products, i.e., a glycerol molecule and fatty acid(s). Lipids do not dissolve in water. In animals, including humans, lipids store energy and form parts of cell structures, such as cell membranes .

Lipids encompass a huge range of structures, which can be aromatic or aliphatic (with or without a benzene ring), acyclic (open-chain) or cyclic (ringed), straight or branched, saturated or unsaturated, flexible or rigid. This diversity makes it impossible to define lipids on the basis of a single core structural feature or biosynthetic origin.
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