Cultured granule cells and astrocytes from cerebellum differ in metabolizing sphingosine

Laura Riboni, Paola Viani, Rosaria Bassi, Paola Giussani, Guido Tettamanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sphingosine metabolism was studied in primary cultures of differentiated cerebellar granule cells and astrocytes. After a 2-h pulse with [C3- 3H]sphingosine at different doses (0.1-200 nmol/mg of cell protein), both cell types efficiently incorporated the long chain base; the percentage of cellular [3H]sphingosine over total label incorporation was extremely low at sphingosine doses of 3H]sphingosine taken up underwent metabolic processing by N-acylation, 1-phosphorylation, and degradation (assessed as 3H2O released in the medium). The metabolic processing of exogenous sphingosine was extremely efficient in both cells, granule cells and astrocytes being able to metabolize, respectively, an amount of sphingosine up to 80- and 300- fold the cellular content of this long chain base in 2 h. At the different doses, the prevailing metabolic route of sphingosine was different. At lower doses and in a wide dose range, the major metabolic fate of sphingosine was N-acylation. With increasing doses, there was first increased sphingosine degradation and then increased levels of sphingosine-1-phosphate. The data demonstrate that, in neurons and astrocytes, the metabolic machinery devoted to sphingosine processing is different, astrocytes possessing an overall higher capacity to synthesize the bioactive compounds ceramide and sphingosine-1-phosphate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Ceramide
  • Cerebellar astrocytes
  • Cerebellar granule cells
  • Sphingosine
  • Sphingosine-1-phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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