Section : Conference Notes

Ceramides (For Professionals)

Ceramides are part of the 3 main lipid types in the skin:

  • ceramide
    • backbone:long aminoalcohol chain (C16-24)= cer (sphingoid base + fatty acid)
    • 12 types identified
  • cholesterol
  • free fatty acids

Roles of lipids in the skin

  • constituents of cell membranes (plasma, cellular organelle)
  • lipid droplets (adipocytes in fat and sequestration of toxic lipids (protection from cell death)
  • epidermal barrier
    • essential for survival
    • lipids unique to skin
    • epidermal permeability barrier lipids
    • the epidermal barrier is located in the stratum corneum SC in lamellar structures (lamellar bodies)

Synthesis of ceramides (and epidermal lipids in general)

  • lipid synthesis in the stratum granulosum (SG)
  • lipid packaging (between the SG and the stratum corneum (SC))
  • lipid secretion and processing in the SC

Diseases related to anomalies in the synthesis of epidermal lipids in general (of which ceramides are a part of)

  • Atopic Dermatitis
    • anomalies in lipid processing (strtum corneum) and ceramide (lipid) synthesis (stratum granulosum)
  • Harlequin ichtyosis and lamellar ichtyosis
    • anomalies in lipid packaging (location between stratum granulosum and stratum corneum)
  • Gaucher and Niemann-Pick Diseases
    • anomalies in lipid processing (location in the stratum corneum)

Role of ceramides in the skin

  • Structural roles:
    • constitute the backbone structure of sphingolipids
    • components of cell membranes
  • epidermal permeability barrier function
  • role in intracellular signaling
    • accumulation results in cell cycle arrest
    • regulation of cell differentiation
    • regulation of apoptosis/autophagy
  • role in immunity
    • more precisely in innate immunity: induce antimicrobial peptide production


Dr Christophe HSU – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

Source de l’Information. Uchida Y. The unique feature of epidermal barrier lipid formation. Investigative Dermatology (IID) 2013 – Edinburgh, United Kingdom (UK).

Category : Ceramides - Modifie le 05.16.2013