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We showed previously that ceramide kinase (CerK) expression increases during adipogenesis pointing to a relevant role of intracellular C1P in this process. In the present work we demonstrate that administration of exogenous C1P inhibits the differentiation of 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes into mature adipocytes through a mechanism involving activation of extracellularly regulated kinases (ERK) 1–2. Exogenous C1P reduced the accumulation of lipid droplets and the content of triacylglycerol in these cells, and potently inhibited the expression of the early and late adipogenic markers C/EBPβ and PPARγ, respectively. C1P also reduced the secretion of leptin, which is a crucial regulator of energy balance and appetite in the organism, and is considered to be a late marker of adipogenesis. Interestingly, all of these C1P actions were reversed by pertussis toxin, suggesting the intervention of a Gi protein-coupled receptor previously identified for C1P, in this process. Also, exogenous C1P significantly reduced CerK activity. Altogether, the data presented in this work suggest that exogenous C1P may balance adipogenesis, and that targeting CerK may be a novel way for potential applications in the treatment of obesity or other inflammation-associated diseases.Exogenous C1P inhibits adipogenesis.ERK1–2 are implicated in the inhibition of adipogenesis by C1P.C1P inhibition of adipogenesis is blocked by Gi protein inhibitor pertussis toxin.