Enriched Expression of Neutral Sphingomyelinase 2 in the Striatum is Essential for Regulation of Lipid Raft Content and Motor Coordination
INTRODUCTION Sphingomyelinases, which catalyze the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin to ceramide and phosphorylcholine, are abundant in the brain. These enzymes are a major, rapid source of ceramide production not only during physiological responses to receptor stimulation, but also in neurological disorders. AREAS COVERED We covered an introduction to sphingomyelinases and its enzymatic product ceramide, in membrane domains or lipid rafts and the nucleus; followed by crosstalk between sphingomyelinase and cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) catalysed products including arachidonic acid, functions of acid sphingomyelinase (aSMase) and neutral sphingomyelinase (N-SMase) in neurons, neuronal progenitor cells, glial cells, and brain endothelial cells; alterations in acid and N-SMases in Niemann Pick Disease Type A, major depression, Alzheimer's disease, cerebral ischemia, and pain; and recent developments in identification of inhibitors to sphingomyelinases. As literature search methodology, we did key word searches using Pubmed. EXPERT OPINION More research needs to be carried out to develop pharmacological agents that act on sphingomyelinases, for the prevention or treatment of neurological disorders.