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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Mar;58(1):57-72.

PPARalpha agonist induces the accumulation of ceramide in the heart of rats fed high-fat diet.

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Department of Physiology, Medical University of Bialystok, Bialystok, Poland.


It was shown that high-fat feeding of mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha but not wild type animals leads to the accumulation of ceramide (an important mediator of lipotoxicity) in the heart [Finck et al. 2003 Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]. To investigate the mechanism of this phenomenon we examined the effects of PPARalpha activation on ceramide metabolism in the myocardium. Male Wistar rats were fed either a standard chow or a high-fat diet. Each group was divided into two subgroups: control and treated with selective PPARalpha activator - WY-14643. In the rats fed on the standard diet WY-14643 did not affect the myocardial content of sphingomyelin and ceramide but reduced the content of sphinganine and sphingosine. It also inhibited the activity of neutral sphingomyelinase and increased the activity of acid sphingomyelinase, whereas the activity of ceramidases and serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) remained stable. High-fat diet itself did not affect the content of the examined sphingolipids. However, it reduced the activity of sphingomyelinases and ceramidases having no effect on the activity of SPT. Administration of WY-14643 to this group significantly increased the content of myocardial free palmitate, ceramide, sphingomyelin and the activity of SPT. Our results demonstrated that PPARalpha activation modulates myocardial ceramide metabolism and leads to the accumulation of ceramide in the heart of the high-fat fed rats due to its increased synthesis de novo.

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