Affiliations: Department of Integrative Physiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan
Note:  Correspondence to: Toshihiko Katafuchi, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Integrative Physiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan. Tel.: +81 92 642 6089; Fax: +81 92 642 6093; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Ceramide is a core member of the sphingolipids family and present in different cellular compartments. The major role of ceramide in the apoptosis signaling has been well explained with the involvement of mitochondria. It has also been highlighted that ceramide plays an important role in the cytokines-mediated inflammation which contributed to many diseases progressions. Ceramide is induced and accumulated in the brain by several inflammatory neurological disorders. Interestingly, evidences from different research groups have suggested that ceramide plays a role in generation of action potentials but the mechanism by which ceramide modulated electrophysiology was elusive. Ceramide is not only involved in the inflammation, apoptosis and action potentials but it has also been suggested that ceramide can kill cancer cells. These evidences raised importance to review our knowledge about this bioactive lipid. In this review, we have focused the recent discoveries as well as previous literatures to understand its role in different diseases. Still now, the mechanism of how does ceramide play its role in different cellular events is mostly unknown. Therefore, future studies are necessary to investigate the detail function of ceramide in the normal and pathophysiology contexts to explore novel therapeutics to cure these disorders including inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases.