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Handbook of experimental pharmacology

Bacterial infections and ceramide.


PMID 23563663

Abstract

Ceramide is released from sphingomyelin primarily by the activity of acid, neutral, or alkaline sphingomyelinases or is synthesized de novo. Several bacteria, viruses, and even parasites infect mammalian cells by exploiting the acid sphingomyelinase or the neutral sphingomyelinase-ceramide system, or both. Sphingomyelinases and ceramide have been shown to be crucially involved in the internalization of pathogens, the induction of apoptosis in infected cells, the intracellular activation of signaling pathways, and the release of cytokines. The diverse functions of ceramide in infections suggest that the sphingomyelinase-ceramide system is a key player in the host response to many pathogens.