I read here and here that the function of lipoprotein lipase is to facilitate fat uptake and storage in adipose tissue. Could anyone provide a slightly more expanded explanation, without going into too much detail, and without the use of too much jargon (I am not a biologist). I have read the wikipedia page, but sadly I didn't understand it....Thanks !

Edit: One of the things that is confusing me is what "fat uptake" means in this context.

  • $\begingroup$ Haven't read yet Stahl et al., Identification of the Major Intestinal Fatty Acid Transport Protein. To facilitate may mean no more than break down of triglycerides, as uptake mechanism is not known yet. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2021 at 14:05

2 Answers 2


Fat uptake means cells eating fat.

I'll try to keep it simple, so forget the many approximations. You need first to consider that most fat circulates in the blood under the form of triglycerides (TG). TG are not soluble in water, so how do they circulate? They are hidden inside cargo vehicles called lipoproteins. When a circulating lipoprotein touches a cell, if the cell expresses lipoprotein lipase (LPL), first LPL would trap the lipoprotein cargo, and then will start to catabolize the TG.

Importantly, there are no efficient TG cargoes inside the cell, so the function of lipoprotein lipase is to make fat easy to move inside the cell. TG are a chemical assembly of one glycerol and three fatty acids. Of note, there are good fatty acid cargoes inside the cell, so LPL will break TG into glycerol and fatty acids so that they can be further metabolized depending on the cell type.

Heart and muscle cells will bring fatty acids to mitochondria where they will be oxidized to produce energy. With reference to your question, adipocyte cells will bring fatty acids to other cellular compartments where they will be converted back to triglycerides and stored as fat. That's why you read that LPL facilitates fat uptake and storage in adipose tissue.

  • $\begingroup$ Great answer. Thank you ! I would upvote, but I don't have sufficient rep myself (yet). Just a further query: when I read: "facilitate fat uptake and storage" would I be right in saying the /primary/ function is fat uptake, which then results in fat storage (in adipocytes). $\endgroup$ May 8, 2012 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ No. All cells need fats, primarily to build membranes and to store in vesicles for later conversion to energy. Storage is not restricted to adipocytes. $\endgroup$ May 8, 2012 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Larry_Parnell Sorry, by writing "(adipocytes)" I meant to query whether the /primary/ function of LPL in adipose tissue is fat storage ? I took home from the answer is that LPL performs fat uptake and thereby facilitates fat storage. $\endgroup$ May 8, 2012 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Haven't read much - it might be that the mechanism of uptake of free fatty acids (produced by lipoprotein lipase, outside the cell) is yet unknown. Thus, LPL should not perform uptake at all. Free fatty acids might even freely diffuse through membrane. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2021 at 14:01

Adipocytes are fat cells. On their outer surface are enzymes called lipoprotein lipase abbreviated as 'LPL' . the major function of LPL is to break down triglycerides into soluble fats and facilitate their transportation into adipocytes. So as more triglycerides are broken down, the fat cells increase in number by almost thousands times and in by 20 times. This means the more the energy intake, the higher the rate at which at which fat cells get enlarged thereby making an individual to be extensively obese

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you can add some references to your answer to attract more upvotes. $\endgroup$ Nov 28, 2016 at 3:26

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