1. Cell Biology
  2. Human Biology and Medicine
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No turnover in lens lipids for the entire human lifespan

  1. Jessica R Hughes  Is a corresponding author
  2. Vladimir A Levchenko
  3. Stephen J Blanksby
  4. Todd W Mitchell
  5. Alan Williams
  6. Roger J W Truscott
  1. University of Wollongong, Australia
  2. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Australia
  3. Queensland University of Technology, Australia
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Cite this article as: eLife 2015;4:e06003 doi: 10.7554/eLife.06003

Abstract

Lipids are critical to cellular function and it is generally accepted that lipid turnover is rapid and dysregulation in turnover results in disease (Dawidowicz 1987, Phillips et al. 2009, Liu et al. 2013). Here we present an intriguing counter-example by demonstrating that in the center of the human ocular lens there is no lipid turnover in fiber cells during the entire human lifespan. This discovery, combined with prior demonstration of pronounced changes in the lens lipid composition over a lifetime (Hughes et al. 2012), suggests that some lipid classes break down in the body over several decades, whereas others are stable. Such substantial changes in lens cell membranes may play a role in the genesis of age-related eye disorders. Whether long-lived lipids are present in other tissues is not yet known, but this may prove to be important in understanding the development of age-related diseases.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Jessica R Hughes

    School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
    For correspondence
    jnealon@uow.edu.au
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Vladimir A Levchenko

    The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Stephen J Blanksby

    Central Analytical Research Facility, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Todd W Mitchell

    School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Alan Williams

    The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, Lucas Heights, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Roger J W Truscott

    Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Ethics

Human subjects: All work was approved by the human research ethics committees at the University of Sydney (#7292) and the University of Wollongong (HE 99/001). All human lenses from this study were donated to the Sydney Eye Bank.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Jeremy Nathans, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: December 10, 2014
  2. Accepted: March 10, 2015
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: March 11, 2015 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: April 2, 2015 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2015, Hughes et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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