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J Lipid Res. 2013 Jan;54(1):189-201. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M031427. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Fenretinide inhibited de novo ceramide synthesis and proinflammatory cytokines induced by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.

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  • 1Department of Craniofacial Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.


Ceramides play an essential role in modulating immune signaling pathways and proinflammatory cytokine production in response to infectious pathogens, stress stimuli, or chemotherapeutic drugs. In this study, we demonstrated that Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, the pathogen for aggressive periodontitis, induced de novo synthesis of ceramide in Raw 264.7 cells. In addition, we identified that fenretinide, a synthetic retinoid, suppressed the de novo synthesis of ceramide induced by A. actinomycetemcomitans. Moreover, fenretinide attenuated interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA expression induced by A. actinomycetemcomitans. Fenretinide also decreased IL-1β, IL-6, and prostaglandin E2 proinflammatory cytokine levels in Raw 264.7 cells induced by A. actinomycetemcomitans. However, fenretinide had no significant effects on tumor necrosis factor alpha mRNA or protein levels. Furthermore, we showed that fenretinide inhibited the janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt, protein kinase C, and nuclear factor-kappaB signaling pathways, whereas fenretinide up-regulated the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways after bacterial stimulation. This study emphasizes the de novo ceramide synthesis pathway in response to bacterial stimulation and demonstrates the anti-inflammatory role of fenretinide in the bacteria-induced immune response.

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