Regulation of serum sphingolipids in andean children born and living at high altitude (3775 m)

Pietro Barbacini, Josefina Casas, Enrica Torretta, Daniele Capitanio, Gustavo Maccallini, Valeria Hirschler, Cecilia Gelfi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies on Andean children indicate a prevalence of dyslipidemia and hypertension compared to dwellers at lower altitudes, suggesting that despite similar food intake and daily activities, they undergo different metabolic adaptations. In the present study, the sphingolipid pattern was investigated in serum of 7 underweight (UW), 30 normal weight (NW), 13 overweight (OW), and 9 obese (O) Andean children by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Results indicate that levels of Ceramides (Cers) and sphingomyelins (SMs) correlate positively with biochemical parameters (except for Cers and Vitamin D, which correlate negatively), whereas sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) correlates negatively. Correlation results and LC-MS data identify the axis high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), Cers, and S1P as related to hypoxia adaptation. Specifically UW children are characterized by increased levels of S1P compared to O and lower levels of Cers compared to NW children. Furthermore, O children show lower levels of S1P and similar levels of Cers and SMs as NW. In conclusion, our results indicate that S1P is the primary target of hypoxia adaptation in Andean children, and its levels are associated with hypoxia tolerance. Furthermore, S1P can act as marker of increased risk of metabolic syndrome and cardiac dysfunction in young Andeans living at altitude.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE2835
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2019


  • Ceramides
  • Dyslipidemia
  • High-altitude hypoxia
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Sphingolipids
  • Sphingomyelins
  • Sphingosine-1-phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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