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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1983 Nov 1;754(1):82-92.

Uptake and metabolism of radioactively labeled sphingomyelin in cultured skin fibroblasts from controls and patients with Niemann-Pick disease and other lysosomal storage diseases.


The metabolism of [stearoyl-1-14C]- and [choline-methyl-14C]sphingomyelin, [stearoyl-1-14C]ceramide-1-phospho-N,N-dimethylethanolamine (demethylsphingomyelin) and [choline-methyl-14C]phosphatidylcholine was measured 1, 3 and 5 days after uptake from the media of cultured skin fibroblasts. This was done to measure the relative contributions of lysosomal sphingomyelinase and plasma membrane phosphocholine transferase on the metabolism of sphingomyelin, a component of all cell membranes. By using cell lines from controls and from patients with Niemann-Pick disease and other lysosomal storage diseases, it was concluded that a significant portion (10-15%) of the observed degradation of sphingomyelin is due to exchange of the phosphocholine moiety producing phosphatidylcholine. Although cell lines from type A and B Niemann-Pick disease have only 0-2% of lysosomal sphingomyelinase activity measured in vitro, three cell lines from type B Niemann-Pick disease could metabolize 54.4% of the labeled sphingomyelin by day 3 while cell lines from type A Niemann-Pick disease could only metabolize 18.5% by day 3. This compares to 86.7% metabolized in control cells by day 3. Cells from one patient with juvenile Niemann-Pick disease and one with type D Niemann-Pick disease metabolized sphingomyelin normally while cells from two other patients with juvenile or type C Niemann-Pick disease could only metabolize 58.2% by day 3. Cells from patients with I-cell disease and 'lactosylceramidosis' also demonstrated decreased metabolism of sphingomyelin (55.1 and 54.9% by day 3, respectively). Cells from the patient with Farber disease accumulated [14C]stearic acid-labeled ceramide produced from [14C]sphingomyelin. Studies with choline-labeled sphingomyelin and phosphatidylcholine demonstrated that phosphocholine exchange takes place in either direction in the cells, and this is normal in Niemann-Pick disease. Studies in cells from patients with all clinical types of sphingomyelinase deficiency have led to new methods for diagnosis and prognosis and to a better understanding of sphingomyelin metabolism.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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