Palmitic acid is an intracellular signaling molecule involved in disease development

Sarwat Fatima, Xianjing Hu, Rui Hong Gong, Chunhua Huang, Minting Chen, Hoi Leong Xavier Wong, Zhaoxiang Bian*, Hiu Yee Kwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging evidence shows that palmitic acid (PA), a common fatty acid in the human diet, serves as a signaling molecule regulating the progression and development of many diseases at the molecular level. In this review, we focus on its regulatory roles in the development of five pathological conditions, namely, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammation. We summarize the clinical and epidemiological studies; and also the mechanistic studies which have identified the molecular targets for PA in these pathological conditions. Activation or inactivation of these molecular targets by PA controls disease development. Therefore, identifying the specific targets and signaling pathways that are regulated by PA can give us a better understanding of how these diseases develop for the design of effective targeted therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2547-2557
Number of pages11
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number13
Early online date9 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Palmitic acid


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