* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received March 29, 2016; Revision received May 31, 2016
This review presents data on the functional biochemistry of ceramide, one of the key sphingolipids with properties of a secondary messenger. Molecular mechanisms of the involvement of ceramide in apoptosis in pancreatic β-cells and its role in the formation of insulin resistance in pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes are reviewed. One of the main predispositions for the development of insulin resistance and diabetes is obesity, which is associated with ectopic fat deposition and significant increase in intracellular concentrations of cytotoxic ceramides. A possible approach to the restoration of tissue sensitivity to insulin in type 2 diabetes based on selective reduction of the content of cytotoxic ceramides is discussed.
KEY WORDS: ceramide, sphingolipids, apoptosis mediator, insulin resistance, diabetes