Ectopic lipid accumulation: A potential cause for metabolic disturbances and a contributor to the alteration of kidney function.Biochimie. 2013 Nov; 95(11):1971-9.B
Ectopic lipid accumulation is now known to be a mechanism that contributes to organ injury in the context of metabolic diseases. In muscle and liver, accumulation of lipids impairs insulin signaling. This hypothesis accounts for the mechanism of insulin resistance in obesity, type 2 diabetes, aging and lipodystrophy. Increasing data suggest that lipid accumulation in the kidneys could also contribute to the alteration of kidney function in the context of metabolic syndrome and obesity. Furthermore and more unexpectedly, animal models of kidney disease exhibit a decreased adiposity and ectopic lipid redistribution suggesting that kidney disease may be a state of lipodystrophy. However, whether this abnormal lipid partitioning during chronic kidney disease (CKD) may have any functional impact in these tissues needs to be investigated. Here, we provide a perspective by defining the problem and analyzing the possible causes and consequences. Further human studies are required to strengthen these observations, and provide novel therapeutic approaches.