Metabolic homeostasis of fatty acids is complex and well-regulated in all organisms. The biosynthesis of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in mammals provides substrates for β-oxidation and ATP production. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are products of desaturases that introduce a methylene group in cis geometry in SFA. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-6 and n-3 PUFA) are products of elongation and desaturation of the essential linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid, respectively. The liver processes dietary fatty acids and exports them in lipoproteins for distribution and storage in peripheral tissues. The three types of fatty acids are integrated in membrane phospholipids and determine their biophysical properties and functions. This study was aimed at investigating effects of fatty acids on membrane biophysical properties under varying nutritional and pathological conditions, by integrating lipidomic analysis of membrane phospholipids with functional two-photon microscopy (fTPM) of cellular membranes. This approach was applied to two case studies: first, pancreatic beta-cells, to investigate hormetic and detrimental effects of lipids. Second, red blood cells extracted from a genetic mouse model defective in lipoproteins, to understand the role of lipids in hepatic diseases and metabolic syndrome and their effect on circulating cells.
- Membrane fluidity
- functional two photon microscopy
- lipidomic analysis
- saturated fatty acids