The Nutritional Significance of Lipid Rafts
Yaqoob, P. (2009) The Nutritional Significance of Lipid Rafts. Annual Review of Nutrition, 29. pp. 257-282. ISSN 0199-9885
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-080508-141205
The structure, size, stability, and functionality of lipid rafts are still in debate, but recent techniques allowing direct visualization have characterized them in a wide range of cell types. Lipid rafts are potentially modifiable by diet, particularly (but not exclusively) by dietary fatty acids. However, it is not clear whether dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are incorporated into raft lipids or whether their low affinity to cholesterol disallows this and causes phase separation from rafts and displacement of raft proteins. This review examines the potential for dietary modification of raft structure and function in the immune system, brain and retinal tissue, the gut, and in cancer cells. Although there is increasing evidence to suggest that membrane microdomains, and their modulation, have an impact in health and disease, it is too early to judge whether modulation of lipid rafts is responsible for the immunomodulatory effects of n-3 PUFA. In addition to dietary fatty acids, gangliosides and cholesterol may also modulate microdomains in a number of tissues, and recent work has highlighted sphingolipids in membrane microdomains as potential targets for inhibition of tumor growth by n-3 PUFA. The roles of fatty acids and gangliosides in cognitive development, age-related cognitive decline, psychiatric disorders, and Alzheimer's disease are poorly understood and require clarification, particularly with respect to the contribution of lipid rafts. The roles of lipid rafts in cancer, in microbial pathogenesis, and in insulin resistance are only just emerging, but compelling evidence indicates the growing importance of membrane microdomains in health and disease.