Fatty acid transport across the cell membrane: Regulation by fatty acid transporters

Robert W. Schwenk, Graham P. Holloway, Joost J. F. P. Luiken, Arend Bonen, Jan F. C. Glatz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Transport of long-chain fatty acids across the cell membrane has long been thought to occur by passive diffusion. However, in recent years there has been a fundamental shift in understanding, and it is now generally recognized that fatty acids cross the cell membrane via a protein-mediated mechanism. Membrane-associated fatty acid-binding proteins ('fatty acid transporters') not only facilitate but also regulate cellular fatty acid uptake, for instance through their inducible rapid (and reversible) translocation from intracellular storage pools to the cell membrane. A number of fatty acid transporters have been identified, including CD36, plasma membrane-associated fatty acid-binding protein (FABP), and a family of fatty acid transport proteins (FATP1-6). Fatty acid transporters are also implicated in metabolic disease, such as insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes. In this report we briefly review current understanding of the mechanism of transmembrane fatty acid transport, and the function of fatty acid transporters in healthy cardiac and skeletal muscle, and in insulin resistance/type-2 diabetes. Fatty acid transporters hold promise as a future target to rectify lipid fluxes in the body and regain metabolic homeostasis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-154
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Issue number4-6
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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