Saturday 11 March 2006
Lipids > sphingolipids > glycosphingolipids > cerebrosides
Definition: Cerebrosides are glycosphingolipids which are important components in animal muscle and nerve cell membranes. Myelin is the most well known cerebroside.
They consist of a ceramide with a single sugar residue at the 1-hydroxyl moiety. The sugar residue can be either glucose or galactose; the two major types are therefore called glucocerebrosides and galactocerebrosides. Galactocerebrosides are typically found in neural tissue, while glucocerebrosides are found in other tissues.
Cerebrosides are important components in animal muscle and nerve cell membranes.
Gaucher disease is a defect in the degradation of glucocerebrosides.
Krabbe disease is a defect in the degradation of galactocerebrosides.
Nota bene: There are three main types of sphingolipids: ceramides, phosphosphingolipids (sphingomyelins), and glycosphingolipids, which differ in the substituents on their head group.
Glycosphingolipids are ceramides with one or more sugar residues joined in a β-glycosidic linkage at the 1-hydroxyl position. Glycosphingolipids may be further subdivided into cerebrosides and gangliosides.
Cerebrosides have a single glucose (glucocerebroside) or galactose (galactocerebroside) at the 1-hydroxy position, while gangliosides have at least three sugars, one of which must be sialic acid.