Sphingolipids in High Fat Diet and Obesity-Related Diseases

Songhwa Choi, Ashley J. Snider

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Nutrient oversupply associated with a high fat diet (HFD) significantly alters cellular metabolism, and specifically including sphingolipid metabolism. Sphingolipids are emerging as bioactive lipids that play key roles in regulating functions, in addition to their traditional roles as membrane structure. HFD enhances de novo sphingolipid synthesis and turnover of sphingolipids via the salvage pathway, resulting in the generation of ceramide, and more specifically long chain ceramide species. Additionally, HFD elevates sphingomyelin and sphingosine-1 phosphate (S1P) levels in several tissues including liver, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, and cardiovascular tissues. HFD-stimulated sphingolipid generation contributes to systemic insulin resistance, dysregulated lipid accumulation, and cytokine expression and secretion from skeletal muscle and adipose tissues, exacerbating obesity-related conditions. Furthermore, altered sphingolipid levels, particularly ceramide and sphingomyelin, are involved in obesity-induced endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. In this review, HFD-mediated sphingolipid metabolism and its impact on HFD-induced biology and pathobiology will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number520618
JournalMediators of Inflammation
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology


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