Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1117–1122 | Cite as

Lipids and synaptic functions

  • Fanny Mochel


Synaptic functions have long been thought to be driven by proteins, especially the SNARE complex, contrasting with a relatively passive role for lipids constituting cell membranes. It is now clear that not only lipids, i.e. glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids and sterols, play a determinant role in the dynamics of synaptic membranes but they also actively contribute to the endocytosis and exocytosis of synaptic vesicles in conjunction with synaptic proteins. On the other hand, a growing number of inborn errors of metabolism affecting the nervous system have been related to defects in the synthesis and remodelling of fatty acids, phospholipids and sphingolipids. Alterations of the metabolism of these lipids would be expected to affect the dynamics of synaptic membranes and synaptic vesicles. Still, only few examples are currently documented. It remains to be determined to which extent the pathophysiology of disorders of complex lipids biosynthesis and remodelling share common pathogenic mechanisms with the more traditional synaptopathies.



The author is very grateful to Pr Jean-Marie Saudubray and Dr. Foudil Lamari for their pioneering and invaluable contribution to the delineation of the novel class of inborn errors of metabolism represented by disorders of complex lipids biosynthesis and remodelling.

Compliance with ethical standards

Details of ethics approval

No ethics approval was required.

Patient consent statement

Patient consent was not required.

Conflict of interest

Fanny Mochel declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© SSIEM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sorbonne Université, UPMC-Paris 6, UMR S 1127 and Inserm U 1127, and CNRS UMR 7225, and ICM, F-75013ParisFrance
  2. 2.Sorbonne Université, GRC no. 13, NeurométabolismeParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and Reference Centre for Adult Neurometabolic Diseases, AP-HPLa Pitié-Salpêtriere University HospitalParisFrance

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