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Kidney Int. 2000 Jul;58(1):11-26.


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  • 1Nephrology Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0676, USA.


A significant corpus of work over the last decade has firmly established an important role for sphingolipids in a variety of important biological processes. Such processes include signaling events related to cell growth, differentiation, programmed cell death, and stress responses. These processes not only involve those sphingolipids that accumulate as a result of a variety of inherited lysosomal storage disorders, but, in addition, sphingolipids associated with long-chain base metabolism. This article reviews the chemical properties, pathways, regulated metabolism, and signaling function of sphingolipids. In addition, the potential roles of sphingolipids in renal-specific processes are considered. While a variety of cellular functions have been ascribed to sphingolipids, in many cases proof of the concept has yet to be well established. Thus, a number of critical questions can be posed in interpreting these studies. Several of these questions are considered.

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