Squalene

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Description:
Squalene is a natural organic compound originally obtained for commercial purposes primarily from shark liver oil, though plant sources (primarily vegetable oils) are used as well, including amaranth seed, rice bran, wheat germ, and olives. All plants and animals produce squalene, including humans. Squalene has been proposed to be an important part of the Mediterranean diet as it may be a chemopreventative substance that protects people from cancer.

Squalene is a hydrocarbon and a triterpene, and is a natural and vital part of the synthesis of cholesterol, steroid hormones, and vitamin D in the human body. Squalene is used in cosmetics, and more recently as an immunologic adjuvant in vaccines.

Role in steroid synthesis

Squalene is the biochemical precursor to the whole family of steroids. Oxidation (via squalene monooxygenase) of one of the terminal double bonds of squalene yields 2,3-squalene oxide, which undergoes enzyme-catalyzed cyclization to afford lanosterol, which is then elaborated into cholesterol and other steroids.

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Biosynthesis





Interactive pathway map



Shark squalene

Squalene is a low density compound often stored in the...
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