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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 3827684, 13 pages
Review Article

Fostering Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Sphingolipid Strategies to Join Forces

Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, LITA-Segrate, University of Milan, 20090 Milan, Italy

Received 13 August 2015; Revised 27 November 2015; Accepted 6 December 2015

Academic Editor: Alex Kleinjan

Copyright © 2016 Loubna Abdel Hadi et al. 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.


Complex sphingolipids are essential structural components of intestinal membranes, providing protection and integrity to the intestinal mucosa and regulating intestinal absorption processes. The role of sphingolipid signaling has been established in numerous cellular events, including intestinal cell survival, growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. A significant body of knowledge demonstrates that intestinal sphingolipids play a crucial role, as such and through their signaling pathways, in immunity and inflammatory disorders. In this review, we report on and discuss the current knowledge on the metabolism, signaling, and functional implications of sphingolipids in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), focusing on the different aspects of sphingolipid actions on inflammatory responses and on the potential of sphingolipid-targeted molecules as anti-IBD therapeutic agents.