The role of the phospholipid sphingomyelin in heart disease

Subroto Chatterjee, Antonina Kolmakova, Michael Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Sphingomyelin (SM) is an integral component of mammalian cell membranes and nerves. However, the inability to catabolize SM may lead to its accumulation in various tissues and organs, resulting in pathological disorders such as Niemann Pick disease. Elevated levels of SM have also been identified as an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease. During the past two decades, data have emerged that support an important role for metabolites of SM, such as ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate, in the regulation of phenotypic changes such as cell proliferation, cell-cycle arrest, apoptosis and angiogenesis. Further studies of the molecular and pathobiological basis of these phospholipids may facilitate advances in the discovery of drugs with which to mitigate diseases that may result from an elevation in SM and its metabolites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Investigational Drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Ceramide
  • Cholesterol
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Sphingomyelinase
  • Sphingosine 1-phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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