Mitochondria’s role in the processing of dietary fat – Research

This discovery marks a significant leap forward in understanding the crucial role of mitochondria in dietary lipid transport and metabolism.

For our health, a proper lipid homeostasis must be maintained. Fat is an essential part of our diet, even if consuming too many fatty foods can lead to metabolic illnesses including obesity and atherosclerosis. Lipids that have been digested provide the body with necessary building blocks and aid in absorbing vital vitamins.

Researchers led by Professor Manolis Pasparakis and their collaborators, Professors Aleksandra Trifunovic and Christian Frezza at the University of Cologne’s Excellence Cluster CECAD and Jörg Heeren at the University of Hamburg, have reported on a novel mechanism that controls the intestinal processing and transport of dietary lipids in a new study that was published in the journal Nature.

The cells that line the gut and are specialized in the absorption and transfer of nutrients from digested food are called enterocytes, and the function of these organelles, known as the cell’s powerhouses, was examined by the researchers. They discovered that aberrant dietary fat buildup in enterocytes and poor lipid transport to peripheral organs were driven by mitochondrial dysfunction in the mouse gut.

One of the study’s main conclusions was that enterocytes with dysfunctional mitochondria displayed poor chylomicron packing and transport. The correct production and transportation of chylomicrons, important transporters of dietary lipids, are necessary to absorb nutrients.

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This discovery marks a significant leap forward in understanding the crucial role of mitochondria in dietary lipid transport and metabolism.

These findings provide new perspectives for the better understanding of the gastrointestinal symptoms in patients suffering from mitochondrial disease, and may also lead to new therapeutic approaches,” added Professor Aleksandra Trifunovic.

Dr Chrysanthi Moschandrea, the lead author of the study.

Source: University of Cologne Press Release

Journal Reference: Moschandrea, C., Kondylis, V., Evangelakos, I., Herholz, M., Schneider, F., Schmidt, C., Yang, M., Ehret, S., Heine, M., Jaeckstein, M. Y., Szczepanowska, K., Schwarzer, R., Baumann, L., Bock, T., Nikitopoulou, E., Brodesser, S., Krüger, M., Frezza, C., Heeren, J., . . . Pasparakis, M. (2023). Mitochondrial dysfunction abrogates dietary lipid processing in enterocytes. Nature, 1-8.

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