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FEBS Lett. 2002 Oct 23;530(1-3):9-16.

New advances on structural and biological functions of ceramide in apoptotic/necrotic cell death and cancer.

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  • 1Institut de Chimie Pharmaceutique Albert Lespagnol, Faculté de Pharmacie, Laboratoire de Toxicologie, 3 Rue du Professeur Laguesse, P.O. Box 83, 59006 Lille Cedex, France.


Recent data on the cellular ceramide functions and its involvement in the apoptotic/necrotic cell death as well as its anticarcinogenic properties are presented. The emphasis is on the connections between the ceramide and caspase signaling pathways during the apoptotic cell death process. Notably, the experimental strategies and pharmacological tools used for establishment of the role of ceramide in triggering cell death are described. Moreover, the importance of a compartmentation of endogenous ceramide within the plasma membrane microdomains, lysosomes and mitochondria is discussed. Information on the deregulated functions of ceramide and caspase signaling pathways in several metastatic cancer types is also presented.

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