Although initially described as an adipocyte-specific triacylglycerol lipase, lipe (also known as hormone-specific lipase or HSL) is expressed in multiple tissues and cell lines. It plays multiple roles in lipid metabolism, including hormone-stimulated lipolysis in adipose tissue and the hydrolysis of cholesterol esters. Lipe is expressed as a long and a short form, generated by use of alternative translational start codons. The long form is expressed in steroidogenic tissues such as testis, where it converts cholesterol esters to free cholesterol for steroid hormone production. The short form is expressed in adipose tissue, among others, where it hydrolyzes stored triglycerides to free fatty acids. Recently, it was observed that the lack of lipe in genetically obese leptin-null mice inhibited obesity and adipogenesis, suggesting that lipe plays a major role in adipocyte proliferation.
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