The Acid Sphingomyelinase/ Ceramide System as Target for Ischemic Stroke Therapies.
In this review, we summarize implications of the acid sphingomyelinase/ ceramide system in ischemic stroke. Acid sphingomyelinase catalyzes the formation of the bioactive sphingolipid ceramide which coalesces into membrane platforms and has a pivotal role in inflammation, cell signaling and death. Cerebral ischemia increases acid sphingomyelinase activity and elevates brain ceramide levels, which has been associated with the exacerbation of ischemic injury and deterioration of stroke outcome. In view of the fact that lowering acid sphingomyelinase activity and ceramide level was shown to protect against ischemic injury and ameliorate neurological deficits, the acid sphingomyelinase/ ceramide system might represent a promising target for stroke therapies.