Impact of Sphingomyelin Synthase 1 Deficiency on Sphingolipid Metabolism and Atherosclerosis in Mice

Molecular and Cellular Cardiology Program, VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, Brooklyn, NY, USA.
Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (Impact Factor: 6). 05/2012; 32(7):1577-84. DOI: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.251538
Source: PubMed


Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) catalyzes the conversion of ceramide to sphingomyelin and sits at the crossroads of sphingolipid biosynthesis. SMS has 2 isoforms: SMS1 and SMS2. Although they have the same SMS activity, they are different enzymes with distinguishable subcellular localizations and cell expression patterns. It is conceivable that these differences could yield different consequences, in terms of sphingolipid metabolism and its related atherogenesis.
We created Sms1 gene knockout mice and found that Sms1 deficiency significantly decreased plasma, liver, and macrophage sphingomyelin (59%, 45%, and 54%, respectively), but only had a marginal effect on ceramide levels. Surprisingly, we found that Sms1 deficiency dramatically increased glucosylceramide and GM3 levels in plasma, liver, and macrophages (4- to 12-fold), whereas Sms2 deficiency had no such effect. We evaluated the total SMS activity in tissues and found that Sms1 deficiency causes 77% reduction in SMS activity in macrophages, indicating SMS1 is the major SMS in macrophages. Moreover, Sms1-deficient macrophages have a significantly higher glucosylceramide synthase activity. We also found that Sms1 deficiency significantly attenuated toll-like 4 receptor-mediated nuclear factor-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation after lipopolysaccharide treatment. To evaluate atherogenicity, we transplanted Sms1 knockout mouse bone marrow into low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice (Sms1(-/-)→Ldlr(-/-)). After 3 months on a western diet, these animals showed a significant decrease of atherosclerotic lesions in the root and the entire aorta (35% and 44%, P<0.01, respectively) and macrophage content in lesions (51%, P<0.05), compared with wild-type→Ldlr(-/-) mice.
Sms1 deficiency decreases sphingomyelin, but dramatically increases the levels of glycosphingolipids. Atherosclerosis in Sms1(-/-)→Ldlr(-/-) mice is significantly decreased.

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    • "We next sought to investigate whether Dy105 has SMS inhibitory specificity, we utilized SMS1 gene knockout (KO) mouse livers [24] to measure Dy105-mediated SMS2 inhibition, utilized SMS2 gene knockout (KO) mouse livers [30] to measure Dy105-mediated SMS1 inhibition, we found the compound can inhibit SMS2 but not SMS1 activity (Fig. 3A and B) in the liver. We will further evaluate this by using other tissues. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) plays an important role in plasma atherogenic lipoprotein metabolism, inflammation, and the development of atherosclerosis. To understand whether the impaired apoB secretion and inflammation response is a direct result from lack of SMS activity, in this study, we prepared a series of compounds that inhibit SMS activity. Further, we characterized Dy105, the most potent inhibitor. We found that Dy105 treatment significantly reduces SM levels in SM-rich microdomain on cell membranes. Moreover, we found that SMS inhibition reduces apoB secretion in a human hepatoma cell line and reduces the activation of NFκB and p38, a MAP kinase, in bone marrow derived macrophages. These studies provided further evidence that SMS activity regulates atherogenic lipoprotein metabolism and inflammatory responses. Pharmacologic inhibition of SMS may be a new therapy for atherosclerosis by reducing apoB secretion, and reducing inflammation.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "When our group cloned the pig SGMS1 gene, we observed a high intestinal expression [43], and we have now found that its intestinal expression increases postprandially. Recently, genetic manipulation of sphingomyelin synthases 1 and 2 has been proved to regulate plasma sphingomyelin levels [44], [45]. Likewise, several environmental conditions have been found to modified plasma sphingomyelin (SM). "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study was designed to verify the influence of acute fat loading on high density lipoprotein (HDL) composition, and the involvement of liver and different segments of small intestine in the changes observed. To address these issues, rats were administered a bolus of 5-ml of extra-virgin olive oil and sacrificed 4 and 8 hours after feeding. In these animals, lipoproteins were analyzed and gene expressions of apolipoprotein and HDL enzymes were assessed in duodenum, jejunum, ileum and liver. Using this experimental design, total plasma and HDL phospholipids increased at the 8-hour-time-point due to increased sphingomyelin content. An increase in apolipoprotein A4 was also observed mainly in lipid-poor HDL. Increased expression of intestinal Apoa1, Apoa4 and Sgms1 mRNA was accompanied by hepatic decreases in the first two genes in liver. Hepatic expression of Abcg1, Apoa1bp, Apoa2, Apoe, Ptlp, Pon1 and Scarb1 decreased significantly following fat gavage, while no changes were observed for Abca1, Lcat or Pla2g7. Significant associations were also noted for hepatic expression of apolipoproteins and Pon1. Manipulation of postprandial triglycerides using an inhibitor of microsomal transfer protein -CP-346086- or of lipoprotein lipase -tyloxapol- did not influence hepatic expression of Apoa1 or Apoa4 mRNA. All these data indicate that dietary fat modifies the phospholipid composition of rat HDL, suggesting a mechanism of down-regulation of hepatic HDL when intestine is the main source of those particles and a coordinated regulation of hepatic components of these lipoproteins at the mRNA level, independently of plasma postprandial triglycerides.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "SM, sphingomyelin; PC, phosphatidylcholine; Cer, ceramide; DHCer, dihydroceramide; Glucer, glucosylceramide; Sph, sphingosine; S1P, sphingosine-1-phosphate; Sa1P, sphinganine-1-phosphate; GM3, ganglioside GM3. Data are modified from [25]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sphingolipids are ubiquitous and critical components of biological membranes. Their biosynthesis starts with soluble precursors in the endoplasmic reticulum and culminates in the Golgi complex and plasma membrane. Ceramides are important intermediates in the biosynthesis of sphingolipids, such as sphingomyelin, and their overload in the membranes is injurious to cells. The major product of ceramide metabolism is sphingomyelin. We observed that sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) 1 or SMS2 deficiencies significantly decreased plasma and liver sphingomyelin levels. However, SMS2 but not SMS1 deficiency increased plasma ceramides. Surprisingly, SMS1 deficiency significantly increased glucosylceramide and ganglioside GM3, but SMS2 deficiency did not. To explain these unexpected findings about modest to no significant changes in ceramides and increases in other sphingolipids after the ablation of SMS1, we hypothesize that cells have evolved several organelle specific mechanisms to maintain ceramide homeostasis. First, ceramides in the endoplasmic reticulum membranes are controlled by its export to Golgi by protein mediated transfer. Second, in the Golgi, ceramide levels are modulated by their enzymatic conversion to different sphingolipids such as sphingomyelin, and glucosylceramides. Additionally, these sphingolipids can become part of triglyceride-rich apolipoprotein B-containing lipoproteins and be secreted. Third, in the plasma membrane ceramide levels are maintained by ceramide/sphingomyelin cycle, delivery to lysosomes, and efflux to extracellular plasma acceptors. All these pathways might have evolved to ensure steady cellular ceramide levels.
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