Plasma sphingolipid profile in association with incident metabolic syndrome in a chinese population-based cohort study

Huan Yun, Qi Bin Qi, Geng Zong, Qing Qing Wu, Zhen Hua Niu, Shuang Shuang Chen, Huai Xing Li, Liang Sun, Rong Zeng, Xu Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although bioactive sphingolipids have been shown to regulate cardiometabolic homeo-stasis and inflammatory signaling pathways in rodents, population-based longitudinal studies of relationships between sphingolipids and onset of metabolic syndrome (MetS) are sparse. We aimed to determine associations of circulating sphingolipids with inflammatory markers, adipokines, and incidence of MetS. Among 1242 Chinese people aged 50–70 years who completed the 6-year resur-vey, 76 baseline plasma sphingolipids were quantified by high-throughput liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. There were 431 incident MetS cases at 6-year revisit. After multivariable adjustment including lifestyle characteristics and BMI, 21 sphingolipids mainly from ceramide and hydroxysphingomyelin subclasses were significantly associated with incident MetS. Meanwhile, the baseline ceramide score was positively associated (RRQ4 versus Q1 = 1.31; 95% CI 1.05, 1.63; ptrend = 0.010) and the hydroxysphingomyelin score was inversely associated (RRQ4 versus Q1 = 0.60; 95% CI 0.45, 0.79; ptrend < 0.001) with incident MetS. When further controlling for clinical lipids, both associations were attenuated but remained significant. Comparing extreme quartiles, RRs (95% CIs) of MetS risk were 1.34 (95% CI 1.06, 1.70; ptrend = 0.010) for ceramide score and 0.71 (95% CI 0.51, 0.97; ptrend = 0.018) for hydroxysphingomyelin score, respectively. Furthermore, a stronger association between ceramide score and incidence of MetS was evidenced in those having higher inflammation levels (RRQ4 versus Q1 1.57; 95% CI 1.16, 2.12; pinteraction = 0.004). Our data suggested that elevated ceramide concentrations were associated with a higher MetS risk, whereas raised hydroxysphingo-myelin levels were associated with a lower MetS risk beyond traditional clinical lipids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2263
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Ceramide
  • Hydroxysphingomyelin
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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