Lipid homeostasis undergoes subtle changes during infectious diseases, which also reflects the yet underestimated role of lipids in host pathogen interactions. While lipid homeostasis and cellular lipids composition are of importance for cellular membranes, metabolism and immune function of macrophages, lipids or its catabolic products can serve as nutrients or virulence factors for intracellular bacteria. Thus, alterations in lipid homeostasis and in lipid anabolic/catabolic pathways in macrophages play a decisive role in host-pathogen interaction.
We hypothesize that alterations of cellular and systemic lipid metabolism alter the course of infections with intracellular or extracellular bacteria, and the associate host immune responses. We also hypothesize that a high prevalence of hypercholesterinemia in people of European ancestry could be due to an improved control of specific infections.