Ceramide in apoptosis: an overview and current perspectives

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Dec 30;1585(2-3):114-25. doi: 10.1016/s1388-1981(02)00331-1.


Recent years have witnessed significant advances in the understanding of the role of ceramide in apoptosis. This review summarizes these recent findings and discusses insights from studies of ceramide metabolism, topology, and effector actions. The recent identification of several genes for enzymes of ceramide metabolism, the development of mass spectrometric methods for ceramide analysis, and the increasing molecular and pharmacological tools to probe ceramide metabolism and function promise an accelerated phase in defining the molecular and biochemical details of the role of ceramide in apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amidohydrolases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cathepsin D / metabolism
  • Ceramidases
  • Ceramides / chemistry
  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Ceramides / physiology*
  • Glucosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase / metabolism
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups) / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


  • Ceramides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • ceramide glucosyltransferase
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-raf
  • Transferases (Other Substituted Phosphate Groups)
  • phosphatidylcholine-ceramide phosphocholine transferase
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase
  • Cathepsin D
  • Amidohydrolases
  • Ceramidases