Microscopy tools for the investigation of intracellular lipid storage and dynamics

Sabine Daemen, Marc A. M. J. van Zandvoort, Sapun H. Parekh, Matthijs K. C. Hesselink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Excess storage of lipids in ectopic tissues, such as skeletal muscle, liver, and heart, seems to associate closely with metabolic abnormalities and cardiac disease. Intracellular lipid storage occurs in lipid droplets, which have gained attention as active organelles in cellular metabolism. Recent developments in high-resolution microscopy and microscopic spectroscopy have opened up new avenues to examine the physiology and biochemistry of intracellular lipids. Scope of review: The aim of this review is to give an overview of recent technical advances in microscopy, and its application for the visualization, identification, and quantification of intracellular lipids, with special focus to lipid droplets. In addition, we attempt to summarize the probes currently available for the visualization of lipids. Major conclusions: The continuous development of lipid probes in combination with the rapid development of microscopic techniques can provide newinsights in the role and dynamics of intracellular lipids. Moreover, in situ identification of intracellular lipids is now possible and promises to add a new dimensionality to analysis of lipid biochemistry, and its relation to (patho)physiology.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-163
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Metabolic disease
  • Lipid droplets
  • Fluorescent lipid probes
  • Super-resolution
  • Live-cell imaging
  • Vibrational microscopy

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