Cell culture models of fatty acid overload: Problems and solutions

Nour Alsabeeh, Bruno Chausse, Pamela A. Kakimoto, Alicia J. Kowaltowski, Orian Shirihai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


High plasma levels of fatty acids occur in a variety of metabolic diseases. Cellular effects of fatty acid overload resulting in negative cellular responses (lipotoxicity) are often studied in vitro, in an attempt to understand mechanisms involved in these diseases. Fatty acids are poorly soluble, and thus usually studied when complexed to albumins such as bovine serum albumin (BSA). The conjugation of fatty acids to albumin requires care pertaining to preparation of the solutions, effective free fatty acid concentrations, use of different fatty acid species, types of BSA, appropriate controls and ensuring cellular fatty acid uptake. This review discusses lipotoxicity models, the potential problems encountered when using these cellular models, as well as practical solutions for difficulties encountered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-151
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Cells and tissues
  • Fatty acid metabolism
  • Fatty acids
  • Lipids
  • Lipotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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