Table of Contents
Journal of Allergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 154174, 14 pages
Review Article

Sphingolipids: A Potential Molecular Approach to Treat Allergic Inflammation

Wai Y. Sun1,2,3 and Claudine S. Bonder1,2,3,4

1Centre for Cancer Biology, SA Pathology, Frome Road, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
2School of Medicine, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
3Cooperative Research Centre for Biomarker Translation, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia
4School of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Received 10 August 2012; Revised 15 October 2012; Accepted 30 October 2012

Academic Editor: Robert J. Bischof

Copyright © 2012 Wai Y. Sun and Claudine S. Bonder. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Allergic inflammation is an immune response to foreign antigens, which begins within minutes of exposure to the allergen followed by a late phase leading to chronic inflammation. Prolonged allergic inflammation manifests in diseases such as urticaria and rhino-conjunctivitis, as well as chronic asthma and life-threatening anaphylaxis. The prevalence of allergic diseases is profound with 25% of the worldwide population affected and a rising trend across all ages, gender, and racial groups. The identification and avoidance of allergens can manage this disease, but this is not always possible with triggers being common foods, prevalent air-borne particles and only extremely low levels of allergen exposure required for sensitization. Patients who are sensitive to multiple allergens require prophylactic and symptomatic treatments. Current treatments are often suboptimal and associated with adverse effects, such as the interruption of cognition, sleep cycles, and endocrine homeostasis, all of which affect quality of life and are a financial burden to society. Clearly, a better therapeutic approach for allergic diseases is required. Herein, we review the current knowledge of allergic inflammation and discuss the role of sphingolipids as potential targets to regulate inflammatory development in vivo and in humans. We also discuss the benefits and risks of using sphingolipid inhibitors.