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Greek:lipos - fat

A heterogeneous category of biomolecules characterised by being of fatty composition. They all contain an aliphatic element, rendering them relatively insoluble in water.

Definitions include:-

  • A fancy word for fat (derived from Greek)
  • Soluble in alcohols but not in water

Genetic and acquired diseases of the metabolism of lipids reflect their key roles in energy storage and intermediate metabolism (see fatty acids, triglycerides and cholesterol), as components of the cell, particularly membrane structures (see phospholipids) and as signals such as corticosteroids and leukotrienes. Examples of such diseases range from the rare such as myopathic carnitine deficiency or abetalipoproteinemia to the relatively common such as familial hypercholesterolaemia and the very common such as atherosclerosis.