Acid sphingomyelinase, cell membranes and human disease: Lessons from Niemann–Pick disease

Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Icahn Medical Institute, New York, NY 10029, USA.
FEBS letters (Impact Factor: 3.17). 11/2009; 584(9):1895-900. DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2009.11.083
Source: PubMed


Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) plays an important role in normal membrane turnover through the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin, and is one of the key enzymes responsible for the production of ceramide. ASM activity is deficient in the genetic disorder Types A and B Niemann-Pick disease (NPD). ASM knockout (ASMKO) mice were originally constructed to study this disorder, and numerous defects in ceramide-related signaling have been shown. Studies in these mice have further suggested that ASM may be involved in the pathogenesis of several common diseases through the reorganization of membrane microdomains. This review will focus on the role of ASM in membrane biology, with a specific emphasis on what a rare genetic disorder (NPD) has taught us about more common events.

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    • "Ceramide is a bioactive lipid that functions as a second messenger in the regulation of cell proliferation, survival, and death (Zeidan and Hannun 2010). Inherited ASM deficiency thus results in Niemann-Pick disease types A and B, lysosomal storage disorders characterized by the accumulation of sphingomyelin in various cells and tissues (Schuchman 2010). The sphingomyelin phosphodiesterase 1 (SMPD1) gene, which encodes lysosomal ASM, has also been attributed to another form of ASM via differential protein trafficking of a common precursor, secretory ASM (S-ASM) (Schissel et al. 1996). "
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    ABSTRACT: Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute systemic vasculitis that affects both small and medium-sized vessels including the coronary arteries in infants and children. Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) is a lysosomal glycoprotein that hydrolyzes sphingomyelin to ceramide, a lipid, that functions as a second messenger in the regulation of cell functions. ASM activation has been implicated in numerous cellular stress responses and is associated with cellular ASM secretion, either through alternative trafficking of the ASM precursor protein or by means of an unidentified mechanism. Elevation of serum ASM activity has been described in several human diseases, suggesting that patients with diseases involving vascular endothelial cells may exhibit a preferential elevation of serum ASM activity. As acute KD is characterized by systemic vasculitis that could affect vascular endothelial cells, the elevation of serum ASM activity should be considered in these patients. In the present study, serum ASM activity in the sera of 15 patients with acute KD was determined both before and after treatment with infusion of high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), a first-line treatment for acute KD. Serum ASM activity before IVIG was significantly elevated in KD patients when compared to the control group (3.85 ± 1.46 nmol/0.1 ml/6 h vs. 1.15 ± 0.10 nmol/0.1 ml/6 h, p < 0.001), suggesting that ASM activation may be involved in the pathophysiology of this condition. Serum ASM activity before IVIG was significantly correlated with levels of C-reactive protein (p < 0.05). These results suggest the involvement of sphingolipid metabolism in the pathophysiology of KD.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
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    • "> T/p.A487V, previously assumed to be a missense mutation causing Niemann-Pick disease (NPD) type B (Simonaro et al., 2002), leads to normal L-ASM and only slightly lower S-ASM activity levels (Rhein et al., 2013). More than 100 clinically relevant missense mutations in the SMPD1 gene leading to enzymes with decreased catalytic activity, the cause of autosomal recessive NPD types A and B (Brady et al., 1966; Schuchman, 2010), have been deposited in the Human Gene Mutation Database (www. "
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    ABSTRACT: Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM), a key enzyme in sphingolipid metabolism, hydrolyzes sphingomyelin to ceramide and phosphorylcholine. In mammals, the expression of a single gene, SMPD1, results in two forms of the enzyme that differ in several characteristics. Lysosomal ASM (L-ASM) is located within the lysosome, requires no additional Zn2+ ions for activation and is glycosylated mainly with high-mannose oligosaccharides. By contrast, the secretory ASM (S-ASM) is located extracellularly, requires Zn2+ ions for activation, has a complex glycosylation pattern and has a longer in vivo half-life. In this review, we summarize current knowledge regarding the physiology and pathophysiology of S-ASM, including its sources and distribution, molecular and cellular mechanisms of generation and regulation and relevant in vitro and in vivo studies. Polymorphisms or mutations of SMPD1 lead to decreased S-ASM activity, as detected in patients with Niemann-Pick disease B. Thus, lower serum/plasma activities of S-ASM are trait markers. No genetic causes of increased S-ASM activity have been identified. Instead, elevated activity is the result of enhanced release (e.g., induced by lipopolysaccharide and cytokine stimulation) or increased enzyme activation (e.g., induced by oxidative stress). Increased S-ASM activity in serum or plasma is a state marker of a wide range of diseases. In particular, high S-ASM activity occurs in inflammation of the endothelium and liver. Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between S-ASM activity and mortality induced by severe inflammatory diseases. Serial measurements of S-ASM reveal prolonged activation and, therefore, the measurement of this enzyme may also provide information on past inflammatory processes. Thus, S-ASM may be both a promising clinical chemistry marker and a therapeutic target.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Biological Chemistry
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    • "). The increase in hepatic SM due to the lack of ASMase results in the secondary accumulation of cholesterol and glycosphingolipids in the liver [23]. Consequently, basal hepatic unesterified cholesterol levels increased in ASMase À/À mice as evidenced by filipin staining, which further increased upon HFD feeding (Fig. 1C and D). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background & aims: Acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase) is activated in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). However, the contribution of ASMase to NASH is poorly understood and limited to hepatic steatosis and glucose metabolism. Here we examined the role of ASMase in high fat diet (HFD)-induced NASH. Methods: Autophagy, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) were determined in ASMase(-/-) mice fed a HFD. The impact of pharmacological ASMase inhibition on NASH was analyzed in wild type mice fed a HFD. Results: ASMase deficiency determined resistance to hepatic steatosis mediated by a HFD or methionine-choline deficient diet. ASMase(-/-) mice were resistant to HFD-induced hepatic ER stress, but sensitive to tunicamycin-mediated ER stress, indicating selectivity in the resistance of ASMase(-/-) mice to ER stress and steatosis. Autophagic flux, determined in the presence of rapamycin and/or chloroquine, was lower in primary mouse hepatocytes (PMH) from ASMase(-/-) mice and accompanied by increased p62 levels, suggesting autophagic impairment. Moreover, autophagy suppression by chloroquine and brefeldin A caused ER stress in PMH from ASMase(+/+) mice but not in ASMase(-/-) mice. ASMase(-/-) PMH exhibited increased lysosomal cholesterol loading, decreased LMP and apoptosis resistance induced by O-methyl-serine dodecylamide hydrochloride or palmitic acid, effects that were reversed by decreasing cholesterol levels by oxysterol 25-hydroxycholesterol. In vivo pharmacological ASMase inhibition by amitriptyline, a widely used tricyclic antidepressant, protected wild type mice against HFD-induced hepatic steatosis, fibrosis, and liver damage, effects indicative of early-stage NASH. Conclusions: These findings underscore a critical role for ASMase in diet-induced NASH and suggest the potential of amitriptyline as a treatment for patients with NASH.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of Hepatology
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