Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 1997 May;16(5):605-12.

Sphingomyelin metabolism is developmentally regulated in rat lung.

Author information

Department of Internal Medicine, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, The University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.


We investigated several indices involved in sphingomyelin metabolism in developing rat lung. The levels of sphingomyelin gradually increased during lung maturation, with highest levels observed postnatally. The content of sphingosine and ceramide, biologically active sphingomyelin degradation products, did not significantly change in microsomes during the prenatal period, but increased to peak levels in neonatal and adult lung, respectively. Sphingosine content increased 6-fold between the fetal (Day 21) and neonatal period. The developmental profiles of two enzymes involved in sphingomyelin synthesis, serine palmitoyltransferase and sphingomyelin synthase, were similar. Serine palmitoyltransferase activity increased progressively from the fetal to neonatal period, and plateaued at high levels in the adult lung. The activity of serine palmitoyltransferase correlated with the levels of endogenous sphingolipid in lung tissue. Sphingomyelin synthase activity also increased during fetal lung development, but attained highest levels at Day 21 gestation; postnatally, enzyme activity was detected at lower levels. The activities of the sphingolipid hydrolases, acid and neutral sphingomyelinase and acid and alkaline ceramidase, were elevated in fetal lung, thereafter declining to low levels after birth. Studies conducted in alveolar macrophages, fibroblasts, and alveolar type II epithelial cells revealed that these developmental changes in enzyme activities in lung tissue were also occuring globally at the cellular level and were not restricted to any specific cell population. These studies suggest that the developmental increase in lung sphingomyelin content is due to coordinate regulation of enzymes involved in the biosynthesis and degradation of sphingomyelin. These observations also suggest a regulatory role for serine palmitoyltransferase in the generation of long chain sphingoid bases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center