The review discusses the functional role of sphingolipids in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Certain evidence exist that the imbalance of sphingolipids such as sphingomyelin, ceramide, sphingosine, sphingosine-1-phosphate and galactosylceramide in the brain of animals and humans, in the cerebrospinal fluid and blood plasma of patients with Alzheimer's disease play a crucial role in neuronal function by regulating growth, differentiation and cell death in CNS. Activation of sphingomyelinase, which leads to the accumulation of the proapoptotic agent, ceramide, can be considered as a new mechanism for AD and may be a prerequisite for the treatment of this disease by using drugs that inhibit sphingomyelinase activity. The role of sphingolipids as biomarkers for the diagnosis of the early stage of Alzheimer's disease and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment with new drugs is discussed.
Keywords: Alzheimer`s disease, sphingolipids (sphingomyelin, ceramide, sphingosine, sphingosine-1-phosphate, sulphatides), mass spectrometry of sphingolipids, brain, cerebrospinal fluid, blood plasma, biomarkers
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