Triacylglycerol

Triacylglycerols are glycerol molecules esterified with three fatty acid molecules (Figure 2). Diacyl-glycerols and monoacylglycerols have two and one fatty acid molecules, respectively. Triacylglycerols constitute the main energy storage form in mammals and are the main storage form of fatty acids.

Table 1 Physicochemical characteristics of the major lipoprotein classes

Lipoprotein

Density (g/ml)

Molecular weight

Diameter

Triacylglycerol

Cholesterol

Phospholipid

Source

(Da x 1(f)

(nm)

(% lipid)

(% lipid)

(% lipid)

Chylomicrons

0.95

>400

75-1200

80-95

2-7

3-9

Intestine

VLDL

0.95-1.006

10-80

30-80

55-80

5-15

10-20

Liver

IDL

1.006-1.019

5-10

25-35

20-50

20-40

15-25

Catabolism

of VLDL

LDL

1.019-1.063

2.3

18-25

5-15

40-50

20-25

Catabolism

of IDL

HDL

1.063-1.21

1.7-3.6

5-12

5-10

15-25

20-30

Liver,

HOCH I

CH2OH Glycerol

CH2OCOR I

RCOOCH I

CH2OCOR Triacylglycerol

Figure 2 Structure of glycerol and triacylglycerol. 'R' denotes the position of a fatty acid within the triacylglycerol.

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