Sphingolipid signaling in metabolic disorders

Cell Metab. 2012 Oct 3;16(4):420-34. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.06.017. Epub 2012 Sep 13.


Sphingolipids, ubiquitous membrane lipids in eukaryotes, carry out a myriad of critical cellular functions. The past two decades have seen significant advances in sphingolipid research, and in 2010 a first sphingolipid receptor modulator was employed as a human therapeutic. Furthermore, cellular signaling mechanisms regulated by sphingolipids are being recognized as critical players in metabolic diseases. This review focuses on recent advances in cellular and physiological mechanisms of sphingolipid regulation and how sphingolipid signaling influences metabolic diseases. Progress in this area may contribute to new understanding and therapeutic options in complex diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atherosclerosis / metabolism
  • Atherosclerosis / pathology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Diseases / pathology
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism*
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase / metabolism
  • Thrombosis / metabolism
  • Thrombosis / pathology


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Sphingolipids
  • sphingosine-1-phosphate phosphatase
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase