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Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism

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Plasma ceramides are elevated in female children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes

1 / Allison B. Goldfine2 / William L. Holland3 / Ruth Gordillo3 / Philipp E. Scherer3

1University of Texas Southwestern, Pediatrics, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9063, USA

2Harvard Medical School and Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA, USA

3University of Texas Southwestern, Touchstone Diabetes Center, Dallas, TX, USA

Corresponding author: Ximena Lopez, University of Texas Southwestern, Pediatrics, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9063, USA, Phone: +1-214-648-3501, Fax: +1-213-456-2940, E-mail:

Citation Information: Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. Volume 26, Issue 9-10, Pages 995–998, ISSN (Online) 2191-0251, ISSN (Print) 0334-018X, DOI: 10.1515/jpem-2012-0407, April 2013

Publication History

Published Online:


Accumulation of ceramides within tissues induces insulin resistance. Moreover, adiponectin exerts its beneficial metabolic effects at least partially through ceramide catabolism. We hypothesized that specific plasma ceramide subspecies are elevated in obese children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes (T2D), and that they inversely correlate with adiponectin and measures of insulin sensitivity. This was a cross-sectional study. Participants included 14 obese female subjects with T2D, ages 10–17, and 14 lean healthy controls of the same age and gender. Fasting plasma ceramide subspecies were measured by quantitative tandem mass spectrometry. Subjects with T2D had higher concentrations of C22:0 and C20:0 ceramides, with a 2-fold increase in C18:0 ceramide and C24:1 dihydroceramide (p<0.05). C22:0, C20:0 and C18:0 ceramide correlated with decreased adiponectin concentrations, increased HOMA-IR, BMI Z-score, triglyceride and fasting blood glucose concentrations (p<0.05). Plasma levels of C18:0, C20:0 and C22:0 ceramide, as well as C24:1 dihydroceramide, were elevated in obese female children and adolescents with T2D. This may be a reflection of tissue insulin resistance and could be a result of low adiponectin levels.

Keywords: adolescents; ceramides; children; insulin resistance; obesity; type 2 diabetes

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