Sphingolipids are an essential part to many cell membranes. They are all derived from a base lipid named sphingosine, which is composed of an 18 carbon chain molecule with hydroxyl and amine groups:
Sphingolipids are present in skin, milk, egg, brain, and are believed to be present in every living cell. Not only are they functional parts of the membrane, but they also act as messengers for cell apoptosis, proliferation, and differentiation. We have been studying a variety of sphingolipids. Below we show some results concerning ceramides.