Biomedical Sciences

Bridging the gap between Lipid Droplets and Motor Neuron Diseases

Dr Giuseppa Pennetta reviews emerging evidence of supporting a prominent and previously unappreciated role of Lipid Droplets in Motor Neuron Diseases, in the latest issue of Developmental Cell journal.

In collaboration with Prof. Michael Welte (University of Rochester, NY, USA), they discuss how Lipid Droplets (LDs) could affect motor neuron function and survival both in health and disease.

This study provides a new perspective in the understanding of MND-related processes and may lead to the identification of novel targets for therapeutic intervention.

Motor Neuron Diseases (MNDs) are neurodegenerative diseases characterized by a progressive paralysis of the motor system. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the most common MND has a world-wide incidence of about 1.9 per 100,000 individuals but this number is predicted to increase by 69% in the coming years.

Previous studies performed by Dr Giuseppa Pennetta lab (Centre for Discovery of Brain Science, Euan MacDonald Centre for MNDs) and others have highlighted a possible intimate connection between lipid droplets and MNDs. LDs are deposits of fat associated with a number of human pathologies such as obesity, fatty liver and cardiovascular diseases.

Further information

Developmental Cell article 

Dr Pennetta’s previous studies on the topic 

Dr Pennetta's lab profile

Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences website