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Fat is an essential part of our diet and a series of sophisticated metabolic processes ensure that it is absorbed, transported around the body and stored appropriately. Dietary fat provides fatty acids that can be used for energy or structural purposes, or can be utilized in functional roles, such as ligands or proligands for nuclear hormone receptors. This article explores the way in which fatty acids are routed in and out of major tissues in order to supply fatty acids as required. Fatty acid trafficking within the body is a highly regulated process. Insulin appears to be a key signal for 'directing the flow of fatty acids to or from tissues for utilization or storage. However, in recent years, new technology has uncovered new 'players in fatty acid metabolism and new understanding of the pathways that are implicated in the etiology of hypertriglyceridemia. Future studies are likely to reveal increasing levels of complexity in these highly regulated and important pathways. © 2010 Future Medicine Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Lipidology

Publication Date





131 - 144