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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2011;721:41-56. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-0650-1_3.

Heart sphingolipids in health and disease.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Medical University of Białystok, Poland.


In recent years, the role of sphingolipids in physiology and pathophysiology of the heart attracted much attention. Ceramide was found to be involved in the pathogenesis of cardiac dysfunction in animal models of ischemia/reperfusion injury, Type 2 diabetes and lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. On the other hand, another member of this lipid family, namely sphingosine-1-phosphate, has been shown to possess potent cardioprotective properties. This chapter provides a review of the role of ceramide and other bioactive sphingolipids in physiology and pathophysiology of the heart. We describe the role of PPARs and exercise in regulation of myocardial sphingolipid metabolism. We also summarize the present state of knowledge on the involvement of ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate in the development and prevention of ischemia/reperfusion injury of the heart. In the last section of this chapter we discuss the evidence for a role of ceramide in myocardial lipotoxicity.

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