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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Jun;1831(6):1060-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

New insights on the role of ceramide 1-phosphate in inflammation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, Spain.


Inflammation is a complex biological process involving a variety of locally produced molecules, as well as different types of white blood cells. Some of the so-called inflammatory mediators include cytokines, chemokines, interleukins, prostaglandins, or bioactive lipids, all of which provide protection from infection and foreign substances, such as bacteria, yeast, viruses or some chemicals. Under some circumstances, however, the organism inappropriately activates the immune system triggering an inflammatory response in the absence of foreign insults thereby leading to the establishment of autoimmune diseases. Therefore, inflammation must be tightly regulated in order to ensure sufficient protection to the organism in the absence of unwanted, and at times dangerous, side effects. Increasing experimental evidence implicates sphingolipids as major inducers of inflammatory responses and regulators of immune cell functions. In particular, ceramides and sphingosine 1-phosphate have been extensively implicated in inflammation, and ceramide 1-phosphate has also been shown to participate in these processes. The present review highlights novel aspects on the regulation of inflammation by sphingolipids, with special emphasis to the role played by ceramide 1-phosphate and ceramide kinase, the enzyme responsible for its biosynthesis, in inflammatory responses.

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