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Kidney Int. 1992 Apr;41(4):983-91.

Sphingomyelin and cholesterol modulate sodium coupled uptakes in proximal tubular cells.

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INSERM U 251, Faculté de Médecine Xavier-Bichat, Université Paris 7, France.


Sphingomyelin (SM) and cholesterol are major lipid species of apical membranes in renal proximal tubular cells and confer to these membranes a low fluidity. Changes in membrane fluidity and/or lipidic composition were shown to affect the activity of cotransport systems of renal apical membranes. We evaluated the effect of decreasing membrane SM content on lipidic composition, membrane fluidity and sodium (Na)coupled uptakes in rabbit proximal tubular cells in primary culture. Sphingomyelinase (SMase) (30 to 250 mU/ml) decreased [3H]choline-labeled SM content, decreased cholesterol content, and increased cholesterol esterification. SMase did not modify membrane fluidity on isolated brush border membranes. SMase decreased Vmax of Na-dependent uptake of phosphate and alpha-methyl-D-glucoside, but not of alanine. SMase did not influence protein kinase C-induced inhibition of phosphate and glucose uptake. Increasing membrane cholesterol content with cholesterol-enriched liposomes subsequently to SMase action restored in part glucose uptake, but not phosphate uptake. In conclusion, SM degradation affected Na-phosphate and Na-glucose cotransports through changes in both SM and cholesterol contents of apical proximal membranes; these changes seemed to occur independently from changes in bulk membrane fluidity. These results suggest that SM and cholesterol have distinct and intricated roles in accessibility and/or activity of apical cotransport systems.

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