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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Sep 7;286(5):1183-90.

Ceramide blocks PDGF-induced DNA synthesis in mesangial cells via inhibition of Akt kinase in the absence of apoptosis.

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Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, San Antonio, Texas, USA.


The mechanism of action of ceramide in glomerular mesangial cells has not been studied. We investigated the effect of C2 ceramide on the mitogenic signal transduction pathways induced by PDGF in mesangial cells. Increasing concentrations of C2 ceramide inhibited PDGF-induced DNA synthesis in a dose-dependent manner with maximum inhibition at 15 microM. This inhibition of DNA synthesis was associated with attenuation of PDGF-induced early response gene c-fos transcription. PDGF receptor beta immunecomplex kinase assay showed no inhibitory effect of C2 ceramide on PDGF receptor tyrosine kinase activity. We have recently shown that the mitogenic effect of PDGF is mediated by the enzyme phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3 kinase in mesangial cells. C2 ceramide had no effect on PDGF-induced PDGFR-associated PI 3 kinase activity. These data indicate that inhibitory effect of C2 on PDGF-induced DNA synthesis is likely due to post-receptor and post-PI 3 kinase events. To address the mechanism of C2-mediated inhibition of DNA synthesis, we investigated the downstream target of PI 3 kinase, Akt. PDGF time-dependently increased Akt kinase activity in a PI 3 kinase-dependent manner. Incubation of mesangial cells with C2 ceramide inhibited PDGF-induced Akt activity. Akt kinase inhibits apoptosis of cells via phosphorylation of multiple proapoptotic proteins. However, inhibition of Akt activity by C2 ceramide did not induce apoptosis in mesangial cells. These data provide the first evidence that in mesangial cells, ceramide cross-talks with PI 3 kinase-dependent Akt kinase to inhibit PDGF-induced DNA synthesis without inducing apoptosis.

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