The current review article seeks to extend our understanding on the role of lipid droplets within the organ of Corti. In addition to presenting an overview of the current information about the origin, structure and function of lipid droplets we draw inferences from the collective body of knowledge about this cellular organelle to build a conceptual framework to better understanding their role in auditory function. This conceptual model considers that lipid droplets play a significant role in the synthesis, storage, and release of lipids and proteins for energetic use and/or modulating cell signaling pathways. We describe the role and mechanism by which LD play a role in human diseases, and we also review emerging data from our laboratory revealing the potential role of lipid droplets from Hensen cells in the auditory organ. We suggest that lipid droplets might help to develop rapidly and efficiently the resolution phase of inflammatory responses in the mammalian cochlea, preventing inflammatory damage of the delicate inner ear structures and, consequently, sensorineural hearing loss.
This article is part of a Special Issue entitled