Published online Feb 27, 2018. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v10.i2.246
Peer-review started: November 26, 2017
First decision: December 18, 2017
Revised: January 13, 2018
Accepted: January 23, 2018
Article in press: January 23, 2018
Published online: February 27, 2018
Core tip: Alkaline sphingomyelinase is an enzyme expressing in the intestinal tract and additionally human liver. It hydrolyzes sphingomyelin, platelet activating factor and lysophospholipase. In the intestinal tract, it digests dietary sphingomyelin, stimulates cholesterol absorption, and inhibits development of colon cancer. Less is known about the implications of the enzyme in liver diseases. The review summarizes the current knowledge of its roles in hepatobiliary disease and raised special topics for future investigations.