Sphingolipids and Lipoproteins in Health and Metabolic Disorders

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Jul;28(7):506-518. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2017.03.005. Epub 2017 Apr 24.


Sphingolipids are structurally and functionally diverse molecules with significant physiologic functions and are found associated with cellular membranes and plasma lipoproteins. The cellular and plasma concentrations of sphingolipids are altered in several metabolic disorders and may serve as prognostic and diagnostic markers. Here we discuss various sphingolipid transport mechanisms and highlight how changes in cellular and plasma sphingolipid levels contribute to cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Understanding of the mechanisms involved in intracellular transport, secretion, and extracellular transport may provide novel information that might be amenable to therapeutic targeting for the treatment of various metabolic disorders.

Keywords: MTP; ceramide; lipoproteins; metabolic disorders; sphingolipids; sphingomyelin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins / physiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / blood
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology*
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism
  • Sphingolipids / blood
  • Sphingolipids / metabolism*
  • Sphingolipids / physiology*


  • Lipoproteins
  • Sphingolipids