Circulating ceramide levels and ratios in Emirati youth under 18 years: associations with cardiometabolic risk factors

Youssef M. Shalaby, Bashar Al-Zohily, Anjana Raj, Javed Yasin, Sania Al Hamad, Charalambos Antoniades, Nadia Akawi, Elhadi H. Aburawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Circulating ceramide (Cer) drives various pathological processes associated with cardiovascular diseases, liver illness, and diabetes mellitus. Although recognized as predictors of cardiometabolic diseases (CMD) in research and clinical settings, their potential for predicting CMD risk in individuals under 18 remains unexplored. Objectives: This study was designed to utilize Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methodology to determine the biological reference ranges for Cer in plasma samples of Emirati children and develop a risk assessment score (CERT-1) based on Cer concentrations. Methods: Using LC-MS/MS, we developed a method to measure five Cer species in plasma samples of 582 Emirati participants aged 5–17. We used the circulating concentrations of these Cer to determine their reference intervals in this population. We employed traditional statistical analyses to develop a risk score (CERT-1) and assess the association between Cer levels and conventional biomarkers of CMD. Results: We validated a high-throughput methodology using LC–MS/MS to quantify five Cer species in human plasma. Reference values for this population (n = 582) were quantified: CerC16:0 (0.12–0.29 µmol/L), CerC18:0 (0.019–0.067 µmol/L), CerC22:0 (0.102–0.525 µmol/L), CerC24:0 (0.65–1.54 µmol/L) and CerC24:1 (0.212–0.945 µmol/L). We devised a risk assessment score (CERT-1) based on plasma Cer content in the study participants, showing that 72.5% have low to moderate risk and 9.3% are at a higher risk of developing CMD. Our analyses also revealed a significant correlation (P < 0.05) between this score and the conventional risk factors linked to CMD, indicating its potential clinical implication. Conclusion: This study presents a clinical-scaled LC–MS/MS methodology for assessing clinically relevant Cer, setting reference ranges, and developing a risk score (CERT-1) for young Emirati individuals. Our findings can enhance primary risk prediction and inform the management and follow-up of CMD from an early age.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
JournalLipids in Health and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Cardiometabolic diseases
  • Ceramide
  • Reference intervals
  • Risk score

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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