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Biochimie. 2012 Mar;94(3):597-607. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2011.09.009. Epub 2011 Sep 17.

Ceramide 1-phosphate stimulates proliferation of C2C12 myoblasts.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of the Basque Country, 48080 Bilbao, Spain.


Recent studies have established specific cellular functions for different bioactive sphingolipids in skeletal muscle cells. Ceramide 1-phosphate (C1P) is an important bioactive sphingolipid that has been involved in cell growth and survival. However its possible role in the regulation of muscle cell homeostasis has not been so far investigated. In this study, we show that C1P stimulates myoblast proliferation, as determined by measuring the incorporation of tritiated thymidine into DNA, and progression of the myoblasts through the cell cycle. C1P induced phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β and the product of retinoblastoma gene, and enhanced cyclin D1 protein levels. The mitogenic action of C1P also involved activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt, ERK1/2 and the mammalian target of rapamycin. These effects of C1P were independent of interaction with a putative G(i)-coupled C1P receptor as pertussis toxin, which maintains G(i) protein in the inactive form, did not affect C1P-stimulated myoblast proliferation. By contrast, C1P was unable to inhibit serum starvation- or staurosporine-induced apoptosis in the myoblasts, and did not affect myogenic differentiation. Collectively, these results add up to the current knowledge on cell types targeted by C1P, which so far has been mainly confined to fibroblasts and macrophages, and extend on the mechanisms by which C1P exerts its mitogenic effects. Moreover, the biological activities of C1P described in this report establish that this phosphosphingolipid may be a relevant cue in the regulation of skeletal muscle regeneration, and that C1P-metabolizing enzymes might be important targets for developing cellular therapies for treatment of skeletal muscle degenerative diseases, or tissue injury.

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