To evaluate the role of ceramide in glial growth, primary cultures of quiescent astrocytes from rat cerebellum were stimulated to proliferate by mitogenic doses of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Parallel to the bFGF mitogenic effect was a marked, and persistent, decrease in cellular ceramide levels. Both in vitro and in culture metabolic studies have led us to exclude both sphingomyelinase and ceramidase involvement in ceramide level variation. Instead, we found evidence of a functional connection between the decrease in ceramide levels and astrocyte proliferation. In fact, cell growth in bFGF-stimulated astrocytes was inhibited by exogenous ceramide and C2-ceramide, maximal inhibition being obtained at a ceramide concentration of 5-10 μM. Under the same conditions, the dihydroderivatives of ceramides were without effect. Following ceramide treatment, the phosphorylation of the MAP kinase isoforms ERK1/2, key components in bFGF-induced cell proliferation, was examined. The administration of antiproliferative doses of ceramide or C2-ceramide, but not of their dihydroderivatives, resulted in a significant inhibition of ERK1/2 activation. In conclusion, our data indicate that the prompt modulation of ceramide levels by bFGF is an early step associated with the signaling pathways responsible for the mitogenic activity of bFGF in astrocytes. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|
- Cell growth
- Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
- Glial cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas