Author(s): Mencarelli C, MartinezMartinez P
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Abstract Ceramide, the precursor of all complex sphingolipids, is a potent signaling molecule that mediates key events of cellular pathophysiology. In the nervous system, the sphingolipid metabolism has an important impact. Neurons are polarized cells and their normal functions, such as neuronal connectivity and synaptic transmission, rely on selective trafficking of molecules across plasma membrane. Sphingolipids are abundant on neural cellular membranes and represent potent regulators of brain homeostasis. Ceramide intracellular levels are fine-tuned and alteration of the sphingolipid-ceramide profile contributes to the development of age-related, neurological and neuroinflammatory diseases. The purpose of this review is to guide the reader towards a better understanding of the sphingolipid-ceramide pathway system. First, ceramide biology is presented including structure, physical properties and metabolism. Second, we describe the function of ceramide as a lipid second messenger in cell physiology. Finally, we highlight the relevance of sphingolipids and ceramide in the progression of different neurodegenerative diseases.
This article was published in Cell Mol Life Sci
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology