M C Cabot

Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, United States

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Publications (100)440 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Acid ceramidase (AC), EC, a lysosomal enzyme, catalyzes the hydrolysis of ceramide to constituent sphingoid base, sphingosine, and fatty acid. Because AC regulates the levels of pro-apoptotic ceramide and mitogenic sphingosine-1-phosphate, it is considered an apt target in cancer therapy. The present study reveals, for the first time, that the prominent antiestrogen, tamoxifen, is a pan-effective AC inhibitor in the low, single digit micromolar range, as demonstrated in a wide spectrum of cancer cell types, prostate, pancreatic, colorectal, and breast. Prostate cancer cells were chosen for the detailed investigations. Treatment of intact PC-3 cells with tamoxifen produced time- and dose-dependent inhibition of AC activity. Tamoxifen did not impact cell viability nor did it inhibit AC activity in cell-free assays. In pursuit of mechanism of action, we demonstrate that tamoxifen induced time-, as early as 5minutes, and dose-dependent, as low as 5μM, increases in lysosomal membrane permeability (LMP), and time- and dose-dependent downregulation of AC protein expression. Assessing various protease inhibitors revealed that a cathepsin B inhibitor blocked tamoxifen-elicited downregulation of AC protein; however, this action failed to restore AC activity unless assayed in a cell-free system at pH4.5. In addition, pretreatment with tamoxifen inhibited PC-3 cell migration. Toremifene, an antiestrogen structurally similar to tamoxifen, was also a potent inhibitor of AC activity. This study reveals a new, off-target action of tamoxifen that may be of benefit to enhance anticancer therapies that either incorporate ceramide or that target ceramide metabolism.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 08/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Poor prognosis in patients with later stage colorectal cancer (CRC) necessitates the search for new treatment strategies. Ceramide, because of its role in orchestrating death cascades in cancer cells, is a versatile alternative. Ceramide can be generated by exposure to chemotherapy or ionizing radiation, or it can be administered in the form of short-chain analogs (C6-ceramide). Because intracellular P-glycoprotein (P-gp) plays a role in catalyzing the conversion of ceramide to higher sphingolipids, we hypothesized that administration of P-gp antagonists with C6-ceramide would magnify cell death cascades. Human CRC cell lines were employed, HCT-15, HT-29, and LoVo. The addition of either tamoxifen, VX-710, verapamil, or cyclosporin A, antagonists of P-gp, enhanced C6-ceramide cytotoxicity in all cell lines. In depth studies with C6-ceramide and tamoxifen in LoVo cells showed the regimen induced PARP cleavage, caspase-dependent apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MMP), and cell cycle arrest at G1 and G2. At the molecular level, the regimen, but not single agents, induced time-dependent upregulation of tumor suppressor protein p53; however, introduction of a p53 inhibitor staved neither MMP nor apoptosis. Nanoliposomal formulations of C6-ceramide and tamoxifen were also effective, yielding synergistic cell kill. We conclude that tamoxifen is a favorable adjuvant for enhancing C6-ceramide cytotoxicity in CRC, and demonstrates uniquely integrated effects. The high frequency of expression of P-gp in CRC presents an adventitious target for complementing ceramide-based therapies, a strategy that could hold promise for treatment of resistant disease.
    Biochemical pharmacology 01/2013; · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gaucher's disease is a sphingolipidosis characterized by a specific deficiency in an acidic glucocerebrosidase, which results in aberrant accumulation of glucosylceramide primarily within the lysosome. Gaucher's disease has been correlated with cases of myeloma, leukemia, glioblastoma, lung cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma, although the reasons for the correlation are currently being debated. Some suggest that the effects of Gaucher's disease may be linked to cancer, while others implicate the therapies used to treat Gaucher's disease. This debate is not entirely surprising, as the speculations linking Gaucher's disease with cancer fail to address the roles of ceramide and glucosylceramide in cancer biology. In this review, we will discuss, in the context of cancer biology, ceramide metabolism to glucosylceramide, the roles of glucosylceramide in multidrug-resistance, and the role of ceramide as an anticancer lipid. This review should reveal that it is most practical to associate elevated glucosylceramide, which accompanies Gaucher's disease, with the progression of cancer. Furthermore, this review proposes that the therapies used to treat Gaucher's disease, which augment ceramide accumulation, are likely not linked to correlations with cancer.
    Critical reviews in oncogenesis 01/2013; 18(3):221-34.
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Acid ceramidase (AC) occupies an important place in the control of cancer cell proliferation. We tested the influence of AC inhibition on the effects of PSC 833, a P-glycoprotein antagonist with potent ceramide-generating capacity, to determine whether AC could be a therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer. METHODS: Ceramide metabolism was followed using (3)H-palmitate, and molecular species were determined by mass spectroscopy. Apoptosis was measured by DNA fragmentation, autophagy by acridine orange staining, and cell cycle was assessed by flow cytometry and RB phosphorylation. AC was measured in intact cells using fluorescent substrate. RESULTS: Exposure of human PANC-1 or MIA-PaCa-2 cells to PSC 833 promoted increases in de novo (dihydro)ceramides, (dihydro)glucosylceramides, and (dihydro)sphingomyelins, demarking ceramide generation and robust metabolism. Despite the multifold increases in (dihydro)ceramide levels, cells were refractory to PSC 833. However, PSC 833 produced a dose-dependent decrease in DNA synthesis and dose- and time-dependent decreases in RB phosphorylation, consistent with cell cycle arrest as demonstrated at G1. Cytostatic effects of PSC 833 were converted to cytotoxic end-point by acid ceramidase inhibition. Cytotoxicity was accompanied by formation of acridine orange-stained acidic vesicles and an increase in LC3 expression, indicative of autophagic response. Cell death was not reversed by preexposure to myriocin, which blocks PSC 833-induced ceramide generation. CONCLUSION: Although the role of ceramide in end-point cytotoxicity is unclear, our results suggest that acid ceramidase is a viable target in pancreatic cancer. We propose that AC inhibition will be effective in concert with other anticancer therapies.
    Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 12/2012; · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Samy A F Morad, Myles C Cabot
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    ABSTRACT: One crucial barrier to progress in the treatment of cancer has been the inability to control the balance between cell proliferation and apoptosis: enter ceramide. Discoveries over the past 15 years have elevated this sphingolipid to the lofty position of a regulator of cell fate. Ceramide, it turns out, is a powerful tumour suppressor, potentiating signalling events that drive apoptosis, autophagic responses and cell cycle arrest. However, defects in ceramide generation and metabolism in cancer cells contribute to tumour cell survival and resistance to chemotherapy. This Review focuses on ceramide signalling and the targeting of specific metabolic junctures to amplify the tumour suppressive activities of ceramide. The potential of ceramide-based therapeutics in the treatment of cancer is also discussed.
    Nature Reviews Cancer 12/2012; · 29.54 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT Natural killer cell leukemia is characterized by clonal expansion of CD3(-) NK cells and comprises both chronic and aggressive forms. Currently, no effective treatment exists, thus providing a need for identification of novel therapeutics. Lipidomic studies revealed dysregulated sphingolipid metabolism as evidenced by decreased levels of overall ceramide species and increased levels of cerebrosides in leukemic NK cells, concomitant with increased glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) expression. GCS, a key enzyme of this pathway, neutralizes pro-apoptotic ceramide by transfer of a UDP-glucose. Thus, we treated both rat and human leukemic NK cells in combination with: 1) exogenous C(6)-ceramide nanoliposomes in order to target mitochondria and increase physiological pro-apoptotic levels of long chain ceramide, and 2) 1-phenyl-2-palmitoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PPMP), an inhibitor of GCS. Co-administration of C(6)-ceramide nanoliposomes and PPMP elicited an increase in endogenous long-chain ceramide species, which led to cellular apoptosis in a synergistic manner via the mitochondrial intrinsic cell death pathway in leukemic NK cells.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 11/2012; · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although the sphingolipid ceramide exhibits potent tumor suppressor effects, efforts to harness this have been hampered by poor solubility, uptake, bioavailability, and metabolic conversion. Therefore, identification of avenues to improve efficacy is necessary for development of ceramide-based therapies. In this study we used mutant p53, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells, a type of breast cancer highly refractory to treatment, and cell-permeable nanoliposomal C6-ceramide in conjunction with the antiestrogen tamoxifen, which has been shown to be an effective modulator of ceramide metabolism. We show for the first time that nanoliposomal tamoxifen enhances nanoliposomal C6-ceramide cytotoxicity in cultured TNBC cells, a response that was accompanied by induction of cell cycle arrest at G1 and G2, caspase-dependent induction of DNA fragmentation, and enhanced mitochondrial and lysosomal membrane permeability, at 18 and 2 hr, respectively. Tamoxifen metabolites were also effective. Only tamoxifen promoted lysosomal membrane permeability. In addition, we demonstrate for the first time that tamoxifen inhibits acid ceramidase, as measured in intact cell assays; this effect was irreversible. Together, our findings show that tamoxifen magnifies the antiproliferative effects of C6-ceramide via combined targeting of cell cycle traverse and lysosomal and mitochondrial integrity. We adduce that C6-ceramide-induced apoptosis is amplified by tamoxifen's impact on lysosomes and perhaps accompanying inhibition of acid ceramidase, which could result in decreased levels of sphingosine 1-phosphate. This drug regimen could serve as a promising therapy for chemoresistant and triple negative types of breast cancer, and thus represents an indication for tamoxifen, irrespective of estrogen receptor status.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 09/2012; · 5.60 Impact Factor
  • Brian M. Barth, Myles C. Cabot, Mark Kester
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    ABSTRACT: The bioactive sphingolipid, ceramide, has garnered major interest as a principle regulator of cellular stress, proliferation, senescence, and death. Of particular interest to cancer biologists and clinical oncologist, dysregulated ceramide metabolism has been documented in both solid and non-solid malignancies. Moreover, most anticancer chemotherapeutics stimulate ceramide accumulation through increased ceramide synthesis or through the inhibition of ceramide catabolism. In fact, neutralization of ceramide via glycosylation or phosphorylation in malignant cells has been linked to multidrug chemoresistance. New therapeutic strategies to overcome chemoresistance focus on increasing endogenous ceramide levels by stimulating ceramide synthesis, by inhibiting ceramide neutralization, or by the direct delivery of exogenous ceramide. This review will discuss new therapeutic strategies designed specifically to modulate ceramide metabolism, as well as nanoscale delivery systems engineered to selectively deliver ceramide to cancerous cells and tissues.
    Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (Formerly Current Medicinal Chemistry - Anti-Cancer Agents) 10/2011; 11(9):911-919. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Poor prognosis cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, represent inherent challenges for ceramide-based nanotherapeutics due to metabolic pathways, which neutralize ceramide to less toxic or pro-oncogenic metabolites. We have recently developed a novel 80 nanometer diameter liposomal formulation that incorporates 30 molar percent C6-ceramide, a bioactive lipid that is pro-apoptotic to many cancer cells, but not to normal cells. In this manuscript, we evaluated the efficacy of combining nanoliposomal C6-ceramide (Lip-C6) with either gemcitabine or an inhibitor of glucosylceramide synthase. We first assessed the biological effect of Lip-C6 in PANC-1 cells, a gemcitabine-resistant human pancreatic cancer cell line, and found that low doses alone did not induce cell toxicity. However, cytotoxicity was achieved by combining Lip-C6 with either non-toxic sub-therapeutic concentrations of gemcitabine or with the glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor D-threo-1-phenyl-2-decanoylamino-3-morpholino-1-propanol (PDMP). Furthermore, these combinations with Lip-C6 cooperatively inhibited PANC-1 tumor growth in vivo. Mechanistically, Lip-C6 inhibited pro-survival Akt and Erk signaling, whereas the nucleoside analog gemcitabine did not. Furthermore, by including PDMP within the nanoliposomes, which halted ceramide neutralization as evidenced by LC-MS3, the cytotoxic effects of Lip-C6 were enhanced. Collectively, we have demonstrated that nanoliposomal ceramide can be an effective anti-pancreatic cancer therapeutic in combination with gemcitabine or an inhibitor of ceramide neutralization.
    Cancer biology & therapy 10/2011; 12(7):574-85. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sphingolipid ceramide is known to play a central role in chemo- and radiation-induced cell death. Acid ceramidase (AC) hydrolyzes ceramide, and thus reduces intracellular levels of this proapoptotic lipid. The role of AC as a putative anticancer target is supported by reports of upregulation in prostate cancer and in some breast tumors. In this study, we determined whether the introduction of an AC inhibitor would enhance the apoptosis-inducing effects of C6-ceramide (C6-cer) in breast cancer cells. Cultured breast cancer cells were treated with DM102 [(2R,3Z)-N-(1-hydroxyoctadec-3-en-2-yl)pivalamide, C6-cer, or the combination. Cell viability and cytotoxic synergy were assessed. Activation of apoptotic pathways, generation of reactive oxygen species, and mitochondrial transmembrane potential were determined. DM102 was a more effective AC inhibitor than N-oleoylethanolamine (NOE) and (1R,2R)-2-N-(tetradecanoylamino)-1-(4'-nitrophenyl)-1,3-propandiol (B-13) in MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, and BT-474 cells. As single agents, C6-cer (IC(50) 5-10 μM) and DM102 (IC(50) 20 μM) were only moderately cytotoxic in MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, and SK-BR-3 cells. Co-administration, however, produced synergistic decreases in viability (combination index <0.5) in all cell lines. Apoptosis was confirmed in MDA-MB-231 cells by detection of caspase 3 cleavage and a >3-fold increase in caspase 3/7 activation, PARP cleavage, and a >70% increase in Annexin-V positive cells. C6-cer/DM102 increased ROS levels 4-fold in MDA-MB-231 cells, shifted the ratio of Bax:Bcl-2 to >9-fold that of control cells, and resulted in mitochondrial membrane depolarization. DM102 also increased the synthesis of (3)H-palmitate-labeled long-chain ceramides by 2-fold when C6-cer was present. These data support the effectiveness of targeting AC in combination with exogenous short-chain ceramide as an anticancer strategy, and warrant continued investigation into the utility of the C6-cer/DM102 drug duo in human breast cancer.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 09/2011; 133(2):447-58. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance causes treatment failure in approximately 50% of breast cancer patients with chemotherapy. Overexpression of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) confers drug resistance in cancer cells, and suppression of GCS sensitizes cancers to chemotherapy in preclinical studies. Thus, GCS becomes a potential target to reverse drug resistance; however, little is known about GCS expression levels in normal tissues and whether GCS overexpression is associated with metastatic cancers. Herewith, we report our studies in GCS expression levels and breast cancer from patients. GCS levels were analyzed using cancer profiling arrays, breast cancer histo-arrays and quantitative RT-PCR in tumor tissues. We found that breast (18 exp. index) and other hormone-dependent organs (testis, cervix, ovary, prostate) displayed the lowest levels of GCS mRNA, whereas liver (52 exp. index) and other organs (kidney, bladder, stomach) displayed the highest levels of GCS. GCS mRNA levels were significantly elevated in tumors of breast, cervix, rectum and small intestine, as compared to each paired normal tissue. In mammary tissue, GCS overexpression was detected in breast cancers with metastasis, but not in benign fibroadenoma or primary tumors. GCS overexpression was coincident with HER2 expression (γ2=0.84) in ER-negative breast adenocarcinoma. In tumor specimens, GCS mRNA was elevated by 4-fold and significantly associated with stage III (5/7), lymph node-positive (7/8) and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers (7/9). GCS expression was significantly and selectively elevated in breast cancer, in particular in metastatic disease. GCS overexpression was highly associated with ER-positive and HER2-positive breast cancer with metastasis. Although a small study, these data suggest that GCS may be a prognostic indicator and potential target for the treatment of chemotherapy-refractory breast cancer.
    International Journal of Oncology 08/2011; 39(2):425-31. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the therapeutic efficacy of fenretinide (4-HPR), a ceramide-generating anticancer agent, could be enhanced in prostate cancer cells by inclusion of a novel synthetic acid ceramidase (AC) inhibitor, DM102, a pivaloylamide of a 2-substituted aminoethanol. In prostate cancer, AC plays a role in progression and resistance to chemotherapy. PC-3 and DU 145 hormone-refractory human prostate cancer cell lines were used. Cells were exposed to 4-HPR, DM102, and combinations; viability, apoptosis, cell migration, ceramide metabolism, and levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) were assessed. Single agent 4-HPR and DM102 (2.5-10 µM) were weakly cytotoxic; however, combinations synergistically decreased cell viably to as low as 1.5% of control. N-oleoylethanolamine (NOE), a frequently employed AC inhibitor, was not effective in producing synergy. The 4-HPR/DM102 regimen enhanced caspase activity and increased [(3) H](dihydro)ceramide and ROS levels 6- and 30-fold over control, respectively. The antioxidant vitamin E, but not the de novo ceramide synthesis inhibitor myriocin, partially rescued cells from 4-HPR/DM102 cytotoxicity. The 4-HPR/DM102 combination also elicited synergistic cytotoxicity in DU 145 cells, another human hormone-refractory prostate cancer cell line. This study shows that 4-HPR cytotoxicity is enhanced in a synergistic fashion by inclusion of the AC inhibitor DM102, by a mechanism that enlists generation of ROS, and thus provides a system to raise 4-HPR therapeutic potential. The role of ceramide however in the cytotoxic response is not clear, as blocking ceramide generation failed to rescue PC-3 cells from 4-HPR/DM102 cytotoxicity.
    The Prostate 07/2011; 71(10):1064-73. · 3.84 Impact Factor
  • Valerie Gouaze-Andersson, Myles C Cabot
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance represents a serious barrier to the successful treatment of hematological malignancies. In leukemias, resistance mechanisms that involve membrane-resident proteins belonging to the ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporter protein family are of particular interest, wherein enhanced expression is often associated with poor prognosis and frequent in relapsed or refractory disease. These proteins reduce the intracellular concentration of antitumor agents, greatly diminishing clinical efficacy. Research in this area has been directed at the design of agents, "pump antagonists", to overcome the effluxing capacity of drug transporters; however, this direction has had limited clinical success. An allied function of ABC transporters like P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is glycolipid trafficking, an area that has not been explored from a therapeutic standpoint. In this capacity, it turns out that glycolipid synthesis can be attenuated by pump antagonists; this is perhaps an adventitious property of P-gp. Recent research in the area of lipid metabolism, specifically ceramide and glycolipids, has provided insight into the function of glycosphingolipids in multidrug resistance and in the action of chemotherapy. This review is intended to bring together those aspects of glycosphingolipid metabolism that might be leveraged to enhance the therapeutic performance of ceramide and to discuss how ABC transporters like P-gp might be targeted to potentiate and magnify ceramide-driven proapoptotic cascades.
    Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry 06/2011; 11(9):891-903.
  • Brian M Barth, Myles C Cabot, Mark Kester
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The bioactive sphingolipid, ceramide, has garnered major interest as a principle regulator of cellular stress, proliferation, senescence, and death. Of particular interest to cancer biologists and clinical oncologist, dysregulated ceramide metabolism has been documented in both solid and non-solid malignancies. Moreover, most anticancer chemotherapeutics stimulate ceramide accumulation through increased ceramide synthesis or through the inhibition of ceramide catabolism. In fact, neutralization of ceramide via glycosylation or phosphorylation in malignant cells has been linked to multidrug chemoresistance. New therapeutic strategies to overcome chemoresistance focus on increasing endogenous ceramide levels by stimulating ceramide synthesis, by inhibiting ceramide neutralization, or by the direct delivery of exogenous ceramide. This review will discuss new therapeutic strategies designed specifically to modulate ceramide metabolism, as well as nanoscale delivery systems engineered to selectively deliver ceramide to cancerous cells and tissues.
    Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry 06/2011; 11(9):911-9.
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    ABSTRACT: P-glycoprotein (P-gp) antagonists inhibit ceramide metabolism at the juncture of glycosylation. The purpose of this study was to test whether targeting P-gp would be a viable alternative to targeting glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) for enhancing ceramide cytotoxicity. A2780 wild-type, and multidrug-resistant 2780AD and NCI/ADR-RES human ovarian cancer cell lines and the cell-permeable ceramide analog, C6-ceramide (C6-cer), were employed. Compared to P-gp-poor A2780 cells, P-gp-rich 2780AD cells converted 3.7-fold more C6-cer to nontoxic C6-glucosylceramide (C6-GC), whereas cell-free GCS activities were equal. 2780AD cells displayed resistance to C6-cer (10 μM) that was reversed by inclusion of the P-gp antagonist tamoxifen (5 μM) but not by inclusion of a GCS inhibitor. Co-administration of C6-cer and P-gp antagonists was also effective in NCI/ADR-RES cells. For example, C6-cer, VX-710 (Biricodar), and cyclosporin A (cyc A) exposure resulted in viabilities of ~90% of control; however, C6-cer/VX-710 and C6-cer/cyc A additions were synergistic and resulted in viabilities of 22% and 17%, respectively. Further, whereas C6-ceramide and cyc A imparted 1.5- and 0-fold increases in caspase 3/7 activity, the combination produced a 3.5-fold increase. Although the upstream elements of cell death have not been elucidated, the novel C6-ceramide/P-gp antagonist combination merits further study and assessment of clinical translational potential.
    Experimental Cell Research 03/2011; 317(12):1736-45. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The bioactive sphingolipid ceramide induces oxidative stress by disrupting mitochondrial function and stimulating NADPH oxidase (NOX) activity, both implicated in cell death mechanisms. Many anticancer chemotherapeutics (anthracyclines, Vinca alkaloids, paclitaxel, and fenretinide), as well as physiological stimuli such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), stimulate ceramide accumulation and increase oxidative stress in malignant cells. Consequently, ceramide metabolism in malignant cells and, in particular the up-regulation of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS), has gained considerable interest in contributing to chemoresistance. We hypothesized that increases in GCS activity and thus glucosylceramide, the product of GCS activity, represents an important resistance mechanism in glioblastoma. In our study, we determined that increased GCS activity effectively blocked reactive oxygen species formation by NOX. We further showed, in both glioblastoma and neuroblastoma cells that glucosylceramide directly interfered with NOX assembly, hence delineating a direct resistance mechanism. Collectively, our findings indicated that pharmacological or molecular targeting of GCS, using non-toxic nanoliposome delivery systems, successfully augmented NOX activity, and improved the efficacy of known chemotherapeutic agents.
    Cancer biology & therapy 12/2010; 10(11):1126-36. · 3.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The role of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) in regulating ceramide-induced apoptosis has been widely studied. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the role of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in regulating ceramide cytotoxicity by using C6-ceramide. To accomplish this, we employed HeLa cells with conditional expression of the multidrug resistance gene 1/P-gp. HeLa cells expressing P-gp (P-gp/on cells) challenged with [14C]C6-ceramide (6 µM), synthesized 4.5-fold the amount of C6-glucosylceramide (GC) compared to HeLa cells with suppressed expression of P-gp (P-gp/off cells), whereas the generated levels of C6-sphingomyelin were almost equal (33 and 29% of intracellular 14C, respectively). Tamoxifen, a P-gp antagonist, decreased the C6-GC levels from 3.5-1.0% in the P-gp/off and from 17-2.8% of the total lipid 14C levels in the P-gp/on cells. Tamoxifen did not inhibit cell-free C6-GC synthesis in the P-gp/off or P-gp/on homogenates. However, a specific GCS inhibitor, ethylenedioxy-1-phenyl-2-hexadecanoylamino-3-pyrrolidino-1-propanol (ethylenedioxy-P4), blocked synthesis by 90%. In the cytotoxicity assays, the P-gp/off cells were sensitive to C6-ceramide and the P-gp/on cells were resistant. Resistance to C6-ceramide in the P-gp/on cells was reversed by tamoxifen but not by ethylenedioxy-P4. Experiments in another cervical cancer model showed that multidrug-resistant P-gp-rich KB-V1 cells synthesized 3-fold more C6-GC from C6-ceramide than the parental, P-gp-poor KB-3-1 cells, and whereas tamoxifen had no effect on the C6-GC synthesis in the KB-3-1 cells, it inhibited synthesis by 70% in the KB-V1 cells. This study demonstrates that P-gp potentiates C6-ceramide glycosylation and if antagonized augments C6-ceramide sensitivity, both features previously ascribed to GCS. We propose that P-gp can be an effective target for enhancing short-chain ceramide cytotoxicity in the treatment of drug-resistant cancer.
    International Journal of Oncology 12/2010; 37(6):1591-7. · 2.66 Impact Factor
  • Maria C Messner, Myles C Cabot
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    ABSTRACT: Although fenretinide (4-HPR) has been studied in breast cancer and in neuroblastoma, little is known regarding its activity in pancreatic cancer, a neoplasm for which there are few therapeutic options. Since pancreatic cancer cells are susceptible to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and ceramide, two hallmarks of 4-HPR cytotoxicity, we investigated the effect of 4-HPR on human pancreatic cancer cells. Human pancreatic cancer cell lines MIA PaCa-2 and PANC-1 were treated with 4-HPR, followed by measurement of viability, proliferation, ROS and ceramide production, and Western blotting. At the measured IC(50) of 10 μM, 4-HPR led to a 44-68% reduction in [(3)H]thymidine incorporation, a >3-fold increase in de novo ceramide levels, a 2.7-fold increase in ROS, and minor increases in markers of apoptosis. 4-HPR induced a robust, sustained increase in LC3 II expression and enhanced formation of acridine orange-stained acidic vesicles that are markers of autophagy. In addition, sustained, dose-dependent increases in JNK and p38 phosphorylation and decreased ERK phosphorylation were observed following treatment. Pretreatment with vitamin E, a ROS scavenger, and 3-methyladenine, an autophagy inhibitor, individually led to decreased sensitivity to 4-HPR; however, the de novo ceramide inhibitor myriocin had no effect. These data show that 4-HPR triggers pancreatic cancer cell death by apoptosis and autophagy and that sensitivity appears to be mediated by ROS and not ceramide. This study is the first to characterize the response of human pancreatic cancer cells to 4-HPR and opens the door to investigations into this compound in pancreatic adenocarcinomas.
    Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 11/2010; 68(2):477-87. · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Due to recent use of short-chain ceramides in preclinical studies, we characterized C6-ceramide metabolism in cancer cell lines and assessed metabolic junctures for enhancing efficacy. MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells decreased the amount of C6-ceramide metabolized to C6-sphingomyelin (C6-SM) and increased the amount metabolized to C6-glucosylceramide (C6-GC) in response to increasing concentrations. A similar trend was seen in DU-145 (prostate cancer), PANC-1 (pancreatic cancer), and LoVo (colorectal cancer) cells. KG-1 leukemia cells favored C6-SM synthesis at low (0.6muM) and high-dose (12muM) C6-ceramide. Partnering C6-ceramide with tamoxifen, a P-glycoprotein antagonist that impedes ceramide glycosylation, was an effective regimen for enhancing cytotoxicity in cells. Experiments to assess the mechanism of cell death using KG-1 cells showed that tamoxifen inhibited synthesis of C6-GC and C6-SM from C6-ceramide by 80% and 50%, respectively, which was accompanied by enhanced apoptosis. Radiolabeling of KG-1 cells with [(3)H]palmitic acid produced a 2-fold increase in (3)H-long-chain ceramides when unlabeled C6-ceramide was added and a 9-fold increase when C6-ceramide and tamoxifen were added. The increase in (3)H-palmitate radiolabeling of long-chain ceramides was blocked by inclusion of a ceramide synthase inhibitor; however, inhibiting synthesis of long-chain ceramide did not rescue cells. These studies show that tamoxifen enhances the apoptotic effects of C6-ceramide. The proposed mechanism involves blocking short-chain ceramide anabolism to favor hydrolysis and generation of sphingosine. We propose that use of tamoxifen and other P-glycoprotein antagonists can be an effective means for enhancing cytotoxic potential of short-chain ceramides in the treatment of cancer.
    Biochemical pharmacology 04/2010; 80(3):308-15. · 4.25 Impact Factor
  • Maria C Messner, Myles C Cabot
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    ABSTRACT: Glucosylceramide has a unique and often ambiguous role in mammalian cells. Activation of glucosylceramide synthase, the enzyme that places a glucosyl moiety onto ceramide, is the first pathway-committed step to the production of more complex glycosphingolipids such as lactosylceramide and gangliosides. Alterations in the level of glucosylceramide are noted in cells and tissues in response to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, skin disorders and cancer. Overall, upregulation of glucosylceramide offers cellular protection and primes certain cells for proliferation. However, prolonged overabundance of glucosylceramide is detrimental, as seen in Gaucher disease in humans.
    Advances in experimental medicine and biology 01/2010; 688:156-64. · 1.83 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
440.00 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2013
    • Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine
      • • Pharmacology
      • • Department of Medicine
      Hershey, PA, United States
  • 1995–2013
    • John Wayne Cancer Institute
      Santa Monica, California, United States
  • 2008–2011
    • University of Louisiana at Monroe
      • Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences
      Monroe, LA, United States
    • University of Southern California
      • Keck School of Medicine
      Los Angeles, California, United States
  • 1996
    • Freie Universität Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1989
    • Saint Luke's Hospital (NY, USA)
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1978–1984
    • Oak Ridge Associated Universities
      Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States