HORMONE MEASUREMENT GUIDELINES: Tracing lipid metabolism: the value of stable isotopes

    1. A Margot Umpleby
    1. Diabetes and Metabolic Medicine, Faculty of Health and Metabolic Sciences, University of Surrey, Leggett Building, Daphne Jackson Road, Manor Park, Guildford GU2 7WG, UK
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to A M Umpleby; Email: m.umpleby{at}surrey.ac.uk


    Labelling molecules with stable isotopes to create tracers has become a gold-standard method to study the metabolism of lipids and lipoproteins in humans. There are a range of techniques which use stable isotopes to measure fatty acid flux and oxidation, hepatic fatty synthesis, cholesterol absorption and synthesis and lipoprotein metabolism in humans. Stable isotope tracers are safe to use, enabling repeated studies to be undertaken and allowing studies to be undertaken in children and pregnant women. This review provides details of the most appropriate tracers to use, the techniques which have been developed and validated for measuring different aspects of lipid metabolism and some of the limitations of the methodology.

    • Received in final form 13 May 2015
    • Accepted 4 June 2015
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 5 June 2015
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