Ceramide generated from sphingomyelin has emerged as a new but conserved type of biologically active lipid. We previously found that endogenous sphingolipids are required for the normal growth of cultured cerebellar Purkinje neurons and that sphingomyelin is present abundantly in the somatodendritic region of these cells. To gain further insight into a potential role of the sphingomyelin/ceramide pathway, we investigated the effects of depletion of sphingolipids on the phenotypic growth and survival of immature Purkinje cells and the ability of ceramide or other sphingolipids to antagonize these effects. Inhibition of ceramide synthesis by ISP-1, a specific inhibitor of serine palmitoyltransferase, decreased cellular levels of sphingolipids. This treatment resulted in a decrease in cell survival accompanied by an induction of apoptotic cell death and aberrant dendritic differentiation of Purkinje cells with no detectable changes in other cerebellar neurons. Cell-permeable ceramides, sphingosine, or sphingomyelin overcame these abnormalities more effectively than other sphingolipids when added simultaneously with ISP-1. Exposure to bacterial sphingomyelinase in turn enhanced cell survival and dendritic branching complexity of Purkinje cells at different optimal concentrations. Furthermore, cell-permeable ceramide acted synergistically with the neurotrophin family, which has been previously shown to support Purkinje cell survival. These observations suggest that ceramide is a requisite for the survival and the dendritic differentiation of Purkinje cells.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of Neurochemistry|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 1998|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience