Anti-inflammatory action of lipid nanocarrier-delivered myriocin: Therapeutic potential in cystic fibrosis

Anna Caretti, Alessandra Bragonzi, Marcella Facchini, Ida De Fino, Camilla Riva, Paolo Gasco, Claudia Musicanti, Josefina Casas, Gemma Fabriàs, Riccardo Ghidoni, Paola Signorelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sphingolipids take part in immune response and can initiate and/or sustain inflammation. Various inflammatory diseases have been associated with increased ceramide content, and pharmacological reduction of ceramide diminishes inflammation damage in vivo. Inflammation and susceptibility to microbial infection are two elements in a vicious circle. Recently, sphingolipid metabolism inhibitors were used to reduce infection. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is characterized by a hyper-inflammation and an excessive innate immune response, which fails to evolve into adaptive immunity and to eradicate infection. Chronic infections result in lung damage and patient morbidity. Notably, ceramide content in mucosa airways is higher in CF mouse models and in patients than in control mice or healthy subjects. Methods: The therapeutic potential of myriocin, an inhibitor of the sphingolipid de novo synthesis rate limiting enzyme (Serine Palmitoyl Transferase, SPT),was investigated in CF cells and mice models. Results We treated CF human respiratory epithelial cells with myriocin, This treatment resulted in reduced basal, as well as TNFα-stimulated, inflammation. In turn, TNFα induced an increase in SPT in these cells, linking de novo synthesis of ceramide to inflammation. Furthermore, myriocin-loaded nanocarrier, injected intratrachea prior to P. aeruginosa challenge, enabled a significant reduction of lung infection and reduced inflammation. Conclusions: The presented data suggest that de novo ceramide synthesis is constitutively enhanced in CF mucosa and that it can be envisaged as pharmacological target for modulating inflammation and restoring effective innate immunity against acute infection. General significance Myriocin stands as a powerful immunomodulatory agent for inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-594
Number of pages9
JournalBBA - General Subjects
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Ceramide
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Inflammation
  • Innate immune responses
  • Nanocarriers
  • Sphingolipids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Anti-inflammatory action of lipid nanocarrier-delivered myriocin: Therapeutic potential in cystic fibrosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this