Purpose of review
Perturbations in fatty acid levels and in regulatory proteins linked to fat and mitochondrial homeostasis are associated with modifying the risk of Parkinson's disease . Findings, that are not surprising, based on the high fat content of the brain, the myriad of neurological functions dependent on polyunsaturated fatty acids and the role of mitochondria in energy supply and stress amelioration. Nevertheless, dissecting out the molecular links between lipid biology, mitochondrial regulation and Parkinson's disease is complicated by the divergent causes underpinning Parkinson's disease pathophysiology. Here, we summarize aspects of fatty acid biology relevant to Parkinson's disease; the known links between the modulation of fat and Parkinson's disease and introduce mechanisms whereby the E3-ubiquitin ligase, Parkin known to be mutated as a genetic predisposing factor in Parkinson's disease, modulates fat uptake and mitochondrial control.
Prior evidence supports that Parkin, under mitochondrial stress conditions, plays a pivotal role in the mitophagy mitochondrial housekeeping program. Recent evidence now demonstrates a broader role of Parkin in controlling fat uptake and mitochondrial regulatory programs.
The identification that Parkin has a multifunctional role in modulating cellular fatty acid uptake and mitochondrial biology further strengthens the pathophysiologic link between fat metabolism, mitochondria and Parkinson's disease.