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Advances in experimental medicine and biology

Glucosylceramide in humans.


PMID 20919653

Abstract

Glucosylceramide has a unique and often ambiguous role in mammalian cells. Activation of glucosylceramide synthase, the enzyme that places a glucosyl moiety onto ceramide, is the first pathway-committed step to the production of more complex glycosphingolipids such as lactosylceramide and gangliosides. Alterations in the level of glucosylceramide are noted in cells and tissues in response to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skin disorders and cancer. Overall, upregulation of glucosylceramide offers cellular protection and primes certain cells for proliferation. However, prolonged overabundance of glucosylceramide is detrimental, as seen in Gaucher disease in humans.