A complex lipid. An example is glucocerebroside, which is composed of ceramide and glucose.
An N acyl sphingosine (amino alcohol), the lipid moiety of glycosphingolipids.
Ceramide is a complex lipid which can be found in the cytoplasm and the plasma membrane. It is produced by the breakdown of sphingomyelin by sphingomyelinases, a process which is enhanced during TNF and CD 95 ligand induced cell death. It appears that ceramide acts as a second messenger which can mediate apoptosis by the activation of certain kinases.