The adipokine/ceramide axis: key aspects of insulin sensitization

Biochimie. 2014 Jan;96:130-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2013.08.013. Epub 2013 Aug 20.


Until recently, sphingolipid physiology was primarily the domain of oncologists and immunologists. However, mounting evidence implicates ceramides and their derivatives in various aspects of metabolism via directly impacting the insulin receptor as well as modulating cell survival and proliferation. More recent observations suggest a strong link between a number of adipokines and ceramide catabolism. Here, we aim to briefly review the available data on the established metabolic effects of sphingolipids in various cell types and will discuss how adipokines exert a critical influence on the steady state levels of these lipid mediators.

Keywords: Ceramide target tissues; Ceramides; Insulin sensitivity; Plasma ceramide levels; Sphingolipids.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Ceramides / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Lysophospholipids / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Sphingolipids / physiology
  • Sphingosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Sphingosine / metabolism


  • Adipokines
  • Ceramides
  • Lysophospholipids
  • Sphingolipids
  • sphingosine 1-phosphate
  • Sphingosine