Lipases: Digestion of Neutral Lipids; Physiological and Pathological Implications


Fat digestion is a complex process that starts in the stomach through the action of gastric lipase and continues in the intestine, where colipase‐dependent pancreatic lipase and cholesterol ester lipase complete the process of triglyceride and cholesteryl ester hydrolysis, respectively. Bile salts and partial products of triglyceride hydrolysis are essential for the emulsification of these nonpolar lipids in the aqueous milieu of the intestinal lumen.

Keywords: gastric lipase; pancreatic lipases; colipase; milk lipase; newborns

Figure 1.

Stereospecificity and products of fat hydrolysis. Sn‐1, Sn‐2 and Sn‐3 are the three hydroxyl sites of the glycerol molecule to which fatty acids (R) are esterified in triglycerides. FFA: Free fatty acids.



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Further Reading

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Lowe ME (1997) Molecular mechanisms of rat and human pancreatic triglyceride lipase. Journal of Nutrition 127: 549–557.

Mansbach C, Tso P and Kuksis A (eds) (1999) Intestinal Lipid Absorption, Metabolism and Transport. New York: Marcel Dekker.

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Hamosh, Margit(Sep 2005) Lipases: Digestion of Neutral Lipids; Physiological and Pathological Implications. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0001395]