A Fluorescence-Based High-Performance Liquid Chromatographic Assay to Determine Acid Ceramidase Activity
ABSTRACT Acid ceramidase (N-acylsphingosine amidohydrolase) is the lysosomal enzyme required to hydrolyze the N-acyl linkage between the fatty acid and sphingosine moieties in ceramide. A deficiency of acid ceramidase activity results in the lipid storage disorder, Farber disease. This study reports a new assay method to detect acid ceramidase activity in vitro using Bodipy or lissamine rhodamine-conjugated ceramide (C12 ceramide; dodecanoylsphingosine). Using mouse kidney extracts as the source of acid ceramidase activity, this new method was compared with an assay using radioactive C12 ceramide (N-[(14)C]-dodecanoylsphingosine) as a substrate. The Bodipy C12 ceramide substrate provided data very similar to those of the radioactive substrate, but under the experimental conditions tested, it was significantly more sensitive. Using Bodipy C12 ceramide, femtomole quantities of the product, Bodipy dodecanoic acid, could be detected, providing an accurate measure of acid ceramidase activity as low as 0.1 pmol/mg protein/h. Acid ceramidase activities in skin fibroblasts and EBV-transformed lymphoblasts from Farber disease patients were around 7.8 and 10% of those in normal cells, respectively, confirming the specificity of this new assay method. Based on these results, we suggest that this fluorescence-based, high-performance liquid chromatographic technique is a reliable, rapid, and highly sensitive method to determine acid ceramidase activity, and that it could be useful wherever the in vitro detection of acid ceramidase activity is of importance.
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ABSTRACT: Farber disease is a rare lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) that manifests due to acid ceramidase (AC) deficiencies and ceramide accumulation. We present a preclinical gene therapy study for Farber disease employing a lentiviral vector (LV-huAC/huCD25) in three enzymatically normal nonhuman primates. Autologous, mobilized peripheral blood (PB) cells were transduced and infused into fully myelo-ablated recipients with tracking for at least 1 year. Outcomes were assessed by measuring the AC specific activity, ceramide levels, vector persistence/integration, and safety parameters. We observed no hematological, biochemical, radiological, or pathological abnormalities. Hematological recovery occurred by approximately 3 weeks. Vector persistence was observed in PB and bone marrow (BM) cells by qualitative and quantitative PCR. We did not observe any clonal proliferation of PB and BM cells. Importantly, AC-specific activity was detected above normal levels in PB and BM cells analyzed post-transplantation and in spleens and livers at the endpoint of the study. Decreases of ceramide in PB cells as well as in spleen and liver tissues were seen. We expect that this study will provide a roadmap for implementation of clinical gene therapy protocols targeting hematopoietic cells for Farber disease and other LSDs.Human gene therapy 06/2011; 22(6):679-87. DOI:10.1089/hum.2010.195 · 3.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abnormal sphingolipid metabolism has been previously reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD). To extend these findings, several sphingolipids and sphingolipid hydrolases were analyzed in brain samples from AD patients and age-matched normal individuals. We found a pattern of elevated acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) and acid ceramidase (AC) expression in AD, leading to a reduction in sphingomyelin and elevation of ceramide. More sphingosine also was found in the AD brains, although sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) levels were reduced. Notably, significant correlations were observed between the brain ASM and S1P levels and the levels of amyloid beta (Abeta) peptide and hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Based on these findings, neuronal cell cultures were treated with Abeta oligomers, which were found to activate ASM, increase ceramide, and induce apoptosis. Pre-treatment of the neurons with purified, recombinant AC prevented the cells from undergoing Abeta-induced apoptosis. We propose that ASM activation is an important pathological event leading to AD, perhaps due to Abeta deposition. The downstream consequences of ASM activation are elevated ceramide, activation of ceramidases, and production of sphingosine. The reduced levels of S1P in the AD brain, together with elevated ceramide, likely contribute to the disease pathogenesis.Neurobiology of aging 07/2008; 31(3):398-408. DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2008.05.010 · 4.85 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Ceramide as central second messenger of the apoptosis-related sphingomyelin signaling pathway is a potential target for the control of cancer. A complex metabolizing network defines cell type and stage-specific final ceramide concentrations. Successful therapeutic control of ceramide levels requires a knowledge of multiple related turnover rates. The metabolism of ceramide and sphingomyelin was studied in keratinocytes under the condition of an unstimulated sphingomyelin signaling pathway. Preparations enriched in plasma membranes contain a neutral Mg(2+)-dependent sphingomyelinase and a Mg(2+)-independent sphingomyelin synthase that vigorously preserve balanced ceramide and sphingomyelin levels. Ceramide regulates neutral sphingomyelinase. Inhibition of sphingomyelin synthase by D609 treatment results in temporary loss of intercelluar contacts and in cellular shrinking. It is ineffective for sustained elevation of ceramide levels. Ceramide phosphorylating and deacylating activities are insignificant. Recently, fatty-acid remodeling in sphingomyelin was reported as likely to counteract the membrane-rigidifying effects of cholesterol. Keratinocytes transfer fluorescence labeled acyl-chains between phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin. A transferase of that kind would allow rapid adjustment of local lipid composition in response to acutely changed conditions. In addition, this transferase might have a function in the formation of the epidermal permeability barrier.Journal of Investigative Dermatology 04/2004; 122(3):773-82. DOI:10.1111/j.0022-202X.2004.22340.x · 6.37 Impact Factor