Lipolysis and lipophagy in lipid storage myopathies

Corrado Angelini, Anna Chiara Nascimbeni, Giovanna Cenacchi, Elisabetta Tasca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: Triglycerides droplets are massively stored in muscle in Lipid Storage Myopathies (LSM). We studied in muscle regulators of lipophagy, the expression of the transcription factor-EB (TFEB) (a master regulator of lysosomal biogenesis), and markers of autophagy which are induced by starvation and exert a transcriptional control on lipid catabolism. Methods: We investigated the factors that regulate lipophagy in muscle biopsies from 6 patients with different types of LSM: 2 cases of riboflavin-responsive multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MADD), 1 case of primary carnitine deficiency (CD), 2 cases of neutral lipid storage myopathy (NLSD-M), 1 case of carnitine-palmitoyl-transferase-II (CPT) deficiency. Results: Conventional morphology and electron microscopy documented the lipid accumulation and its dramatic resolution after treatment. Muscle immunofluorescence showed that while in MADD and NLSD-M there was a co-localized expression of TFEB and p62-SQSTM1 (marker of protein aggregates) in some atrophic fibers, in CD and CPT-II deficiency the reaction was almost normal. In regenerating fibers, TFEB localized in the cytoplasm (inactive form), whereas in atrophic fibers it localized in the nuclei (active form). Lipid-accumulated/atrophic fibers did not display p62-positive protein aggregates, indicating, together with the LC3-II (marker of autophagosomes) and p62-SQSTM1 analysis, that the autophagic flux is often preserved and lipophagy occurs. Conclusion: In atrophic and regenerating fibers of patients with NLSD-M we observed TFEB over-expression; in other conditions autophagy markers are increased, suggesting lipophagy active role on human lipid metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1367-1373
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Carnitine deficiency
  • Lipid storage myopathy
  • MADD
  • NLSD-M
  • TFEB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine


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