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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ceramide attenuates hypoxic cell death via reactive oxygen species signaling.

We have previously demonstrated that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), a cytokine known to be induced by ischemia, independently promotes preconditioning in part via ceramide generation. As reactive oxygen species (ROS) signaling is evoked by ischemic preconditioning, by TNFalpha and by ceramide we reasoned that ceramide-induced preconditioning is ROS-mediated. Fibroblastic L-cells were subjected to 8 hours simulated ischemia and were preconditioned by pretreatment with cell permeable c2 ceramide (1 microM) with or without the antioxidant N-mercaptopropionyl glycine ( MPG; 1 mM). Pretreatment with ceramide reduced lactate dehydrogenase release at the end of the simulated ischemia but this cytoprotective effect was lost in the presence of MPG. Concurrent temporal ROS generation was measured using confocal microscopy on cells stained with dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCF-DA). Ceramide increased ROS production after 30 minutes and this induction was decreased by MPG. Incubation of ceramide with cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, NS 398 (10 microM), or with a mitochondrial respiratory chain inhibitor, rotenone (10 microM) reduced the cytoprotective effect of ceramide in parallel with a partial diminution in ROS generation. In contrast, inhibition of other ROS-producing systems including nitric oxide synthase, xanthine oxidase, or NADPH oxidase failed to modulate ceramide-induced cytoprotection. Collectively, these data demonstrate that ceramide induces a cell survival program through ROS signaling activated, in part, via cyclooxygenase and the mitochondrial respiratory chain.[1]


  1. Ceramide attenuates hypoxic cell death via reactive oxygen species signaling. Lecour, S., Van der Merwe, E., Opie, L.H., Sack, M.N. J. Cardiovasc. Pharmacol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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