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FEBS Lett. 1997 Jan 20;401(2-3):148-52.

Ceramide induces apoptosis in PC12 cells.

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School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia, Adelaide.


The novel lipid second messenger, ceramide, induced apoptosis in PC12 cells as determined morphologically by nuclear appearance and internucleosomal DNA fragmentation. Apoptosis was induced by exogenous C2-ceramide in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Natural ceramide and C6-ceramide had a similar effect. This response was specific since the structural analog C2-dihydroceramide and other related lipids failed to initiate apoptosis. The apoptotic effect of ceramide also depends critically on cell plating density. Furthermore, the peptide inhibitor of interleukin-1beta converting enzyme (ICE)-like proteases, Z-VAD.FMK, completely prevented the nuclear changes induced by ceramide, implicating the involvement of ICE-like protease activation in ceramide-induced apoptosis in PC12 cells.

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