Apoptosis of Neuro2a cells induced by lysosphingolipids with naturally occurring stereochemical configurations

N. Sueyoshi, T. Maehara, M. Ito

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Lysosphingolipids, which lack the fatty acid moiety of sphingolipids, are known to be accumulated in some variants of sphingolipid storage diseases. Here, we report that lysosphingolipids with naturally occurring stereochemical configurations induce apoptosis in mouse neuroblastoma Neuro2a cells. The intracellular dehydrogenase activity and [3H]thymidine incorporation of Neuro2a cells were strongly suppressed by the addition of lysosphingolipids in a dose-dependent manner, whereas the parental sphingolipids had no effect. Intranucleosomal DNA fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and phosphatidylserine externalization, which are typical features of apoptosis, were observed when the cells were cultured with 40-80 μM of lysosphingolipids for 24-48 h in the presence of 5% fetal calf serum. Activation of caspase-3-like enzyme occurred after addition of lysosphingolipids followed by incubation at 37°C for 24 h. The addition of an inhibitor of caspases, ZVAD-fmk, to the Neuro2a cell culture completely inhibited the elevation of caspase-3 activity but not the DNA fragmentation. These results may indicate that a caspase-3 independent signaling pathway is involved in the lysosphingolipid-induced apoptosis and suggest that accumulation of lysosphingolipids, but not parental sphingolipids, triggers the apoptotic cascade in neuronal cells of patients with sphingolipidoses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1197-1202
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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