Live-cell imaging demonstrates rapid cargo exchange between lipid droplets in adipocytes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Scopus citations


    Lipid droplets form the storage reservoirs for lipids in adipocytes, and their stable appearance suggests a static nature of lipid storage. A stable lipid store, however, may be maintained through the dynamic recycling of lipid cargo between the cytoplasmic compartment and the lipid droplet. In this study, we applied live-cell microscopy to follow intracellular transport steps of fluorescently labeled fatty acids in differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes. We demonstrate that intracellular lipids continuously exit and re-enter lipid droplets, and that individual lipid droplets exchange their content on a timescale of minutes. These data demonstrate a surprisingly high rate of intracellular lipid turnover in adipocytes and support the novel concept that lipid storage is achieved by dynamic recycling rather than static retention.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1946-1950
    Number of pages5
    JournalFEBS Letters
    Issue number12
    StatePublished - Jun 23 2011


    • Adipocyte
    • FRAP
    • Fatty acid
    • Fluorescent microscopy
    • Lipid droplet
    • Obesity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biophysics
    • Structural Biology
    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Genetics
    • Cell Biology


    Dive into the research topics of 'Live-cell imaging demonstrates rapid cargo exchange between lipid droplets in adipocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this