Macrophage sphingomyelin synthase 2 deficiency decreases atherosclerosis in mice.
ABSTRACT: RATIONALE:Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS)2 contributes to de novo sphingomyelin (SM) biosynthesis and plasma membrane SM levels. SMS2 deficiency in macrophages diminishes nuclear factor kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation induced by inflammatory stimuli. OBJECTIVE:The effects of SMS2 deficiency on the development of atherosclerosis are investigated. METHODS AND RESULTS:We measured cholesterol efflux from macrophages of wild-type (WT) and SMS2 knockout (KO) mice. We transplanted SMS2 KO mouse bone marrow into low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor (LDLr) knockout mice (SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-)), creating a mouse model of SMS2 deficiency in the macrophages. We found that SMS2 deficiency caused significant induction of cholesterol efflux in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, we found that SMS2 KO mice had less interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha in the circulation before and after endotoxin stimulation, compared with controls. More importantly, after 3 months on a western-type diet, SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-) mice showed decreased atherosclerotic lesions in the aortic arch, root (57%, P<0.001), and the entire aorta (42%, P<0.01), compared with WT-->LDLr(-/-) mice. Analysis of plaque morphology revealed that SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-) mice had significantly less necrotic core area (71%, P<0.001), less macrophage content (37%, P<0.01), and more collagen content (35%, P<0.05) in atherosclerotic lesions. We also found that SMS2(-/-)-->LDLr(-/-) mice had significantly lower free cholesterol and cholesteryl ester levels in the brachiocephalic artery than WT-->LDLr(-/-) mice (33 and 52%, P<0.01 and P<0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS:SMS2 deficiency in the macrophages reduces atherosclerosis in mice. Macrophage SMS2 is thus a potential therapeutic target for treatment of this disease.
Project description:It has been proposed that plasma sphingomyelin (SM) plays a very important role in plasma lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis. Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) is the last enzyme for SM de novo biosynthesis. Two SMS genes, SMS1 and SMS2, have been cloned and characterized.To evaluate the in vivo role of SMS2 in SM metabolism, we prepared SMS2 knockout (KO) and SMS2 liver-specific transgenic (LTg) mice and studied their plasma SM and lipoprotein metabolism. On a chow diet, SMS2 KO mice showed a significant decrease in plasma SM levels (25%, P<0.05), but no significant changes in total cholesterol, total phospholipids, or triglyceride, compared with wild-type (WT) littermates. On a high-fat diet, SMS2 KO mice showed a decrease in plasma SM levels (28%, P<0.01), whereas SMS2LTg mice showed a significant increase in those levels (29%, P<0.05), but no significant changes in other lipids, compared with WT littermates. Atherogenic lipoproteins from SMS2LTg mice displayed a significantly stronger tendency toward aggregation after mammalian sphingomyelinase treatment, compared with controls. Moreover, SMS2 deficiency significantly increased plasma apoE levels (2.0-fold, P<0.001), whereas liver-specific SMS2 overexpression significantly decreased those levels (1.8-fold, P<0.01). Finally, SMS2 KO mouse plasma promoted cholesterol efflux from macrophages, whereas SMS2LTg mouse plasma prevented it.We therefore believe that regulation of liver SMS2 activity could become a promising treatment for atherosclerosis.
Project description:Sphingomyelin synthase-related protein (SMSr) synthesizes the sphingomyelin analog ceramide phosphoethanolamine (CPE) in cells. Previous cell studies indicated that SMSr is involved in ceramide homeostasis and is crucial for cell function. To further examine SMSr function in vivo, we generated Smsr KO mice that were fertile and had no obvious phenotypic alterations. Quantitative MS analyses of plasma, liver, and macrophages from the KO mice revealed only marginal changes in CPE and ceramide as well as other sphingolipid levels. Because SMS2 also has CPE synthase activity, we prepared Smsr/Sms2 double KO mice. We found that CPE levels were not significantly changed in macrophages, suggesting that CPE levels are not exclusively dependent on SMSr and SMS2 activities. We then measured CPE levels in Sms1 KO mice and found that Sms1 deficiency also reduced plasma CPE levels. Importantly, we found that expression of Sms1 or Sms2 in SF9 insect cells significantly increased not only SM but also CPE formation, indicating that SMS1 also has CPE synthase activity. Moreover, we measured CPE synthase Km and Vmax for SMS1, SMS2, and SMSr using different NBD ceramides. Our study reveals that all mouse SMS family members (SMSr, SMS1, and SMS2) have CPE synthase activity. However, neither CPE nor SMSr appears to be a critical regulator of ceramide levels in vivo.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Sphingomyelin synthase 2 (SMS2) contributes to de novo sphingomyelin (SM) biosynthesis. Its activity is related to SM levels in the plasma and the cell membrane. In this study, we investigated the possibility of a direct relationship between SMS and atherosclerosis.<h4>Methods</h4>The Adenovirus containing SMS2 gene was given into 10-week ApoE KO C57BL/6J mice by femoral intravenous injection. In the control group, the Adenovirus containing GFP was given. To confirm this model, we took both mRNA level examination (RT-PCR) and protein level examination (SMS activity assay).<h4>Result</h4>We generated recombinant adenovirus vectors containing either human SMS2 cDNA (AdV-SMS2) or GFP cDNA (AdV-GFP). On day six after intravenous infusion of 2 × 10(11) particle numbers into ten-week-old apoE KO mice, AdV-SMS2 treatment significantly increased liver SMS2 mRNA levels and SMS activity (by 2.7-fold, 2.3-fold, p < 0.001, respectively), compared to AdV-GFP treated mice. Moreover, plasma total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglyceride (TG), and sphingomyelin (SM) levels were significantly increased by 39% (p < 0.05), 42% (p < 0.05), 68% (p < 0.001), and 45% (p < 0.05), respectively. Plasma high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), phosphatidylcholine (PC), and PC/SM ratio were decreased by 42% (p < 0.05), 18% (p < 0.05), and 45% (p < 0.05), respectively. On day 30, the atherosclerotic lesions on the aortic arch of AdV-SMS2 treated mice were increased, and the lesion areas on the whole aorta and in the aortic root were significantly increased (p < 0.001). Furthermore, the collagen content in the aorta root was significantly decreased (p < 0.01).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results present direct morphological evidence for the pro-atherogenic capabilities of SMS2. SMS2 could be a potential target for treating atherosclerosis.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:We used the sphingomyelin (SM) synthase 2 (Sms2) gene knockout (KO) approach to test our hypothesis that selectively decreasing plasma lipoprotein SM can play an important role in preventing atherosclerosis. METHODS AND RESULTS:The sphingolipid de novo synthesis pathway is considered a promising target for pharmacological intervention in atherosclerosis. However, its potential is hampered because the substance's atherogenic mechanism is not completely understood. We prepared Sms2 and apolipoprotein E (Apoe) double-KO mice. They showed a significant decrease in plasma lipoprotein SM levels (35%, P<0.01) and a significant increase in ceramide and dihydroceramide levels (87.5% and 27%, respectively; P<0.01) but no significant changes in other tested sphingolipids, cholesterol, and triglyceride. Non-high-density lipoproteins from the double-KO mice showed a reduction of SM, but not cholesterol, and displayed less tendency toward aortic sphingomyelinase-mediated lipoprotein aggregation in vitro and retention in aortas in vivo when compared with controls. More important, at the age of 19 weeks, Sms2 KO/Apoe KO mice showed a significant reduction in atherosclerotic lesions of the aortic arch and root (52%, P<0.01) compared with controls. The Sms2 KO/Apoe KO brachiocephalic artery contained significantly less SM, ceramide, free cholesterol, and cholesteryl ester (35%, 32%, 58%, and 60%, respectively; P<0.01) than that of the Apoe KO brachiocephalic artery. CONCLUSIONS:Decreasing plasma SM levels through decreasing SMS2 activity could become a promising treatment for atherosclerosis.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) catalyzes the conversion of ceramide to sphingomyelin and sits at the crossroads of sphingolipid biosynthesis. SMS has 2 isoforms: SMS1 and SMS2. Although they have the same SMS activity, they are different enzymes with distinguishable subcellular localizations and cell expression patterns. It is conceivable that these differences could yield different consequences, in terms of sphingolipid metabolism and its related atherogenesis. METHODS AND RESULTS:We created Sms1 gene knockout mice and found that Sms1 deficiency significantly decreased plasma, liver, and macrophage sphingomyelin (59%, 45%, and 54%, respectively), but only had a marginal effect on ceramide levels. Surprisingly, we found that Sms1 deficiency dramatically increased glucosylceramide and GM3 levels in plasma, liver, and macrophages (4- to 12-fold), whereas Sms2 deficiency had no such effect. We evaluated the total SMS activity in tissues and found that Sms1 deficiency causes 77% reduction in SMS activity in macrophages, indicating SMS1 is the major SMS in macrophages. Moreover, Sms1-deficient macrophages have a significantly higher glucosylceramide synthase activity. We also found that Sms1 deficiency significantly attenuated toll-like 4 receptor-mediated nuclear factor-?B and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation after lipopolysaccharide treatment. To evaluate atherogenicity, we transplanted Sms1 knockout mouse bone marrow into low-density lipoprotein receptor knockout mice (Sms1(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-)). After 3 months on a western diet, these animals showed a significant decrease of atherosclerotic lesions in the root and the entire aorta (35% and 44%, P<0.01, respectively) and macrophage content in lesions (51%, P<0.05), compared with wild-type?Ldlr(-/-) mice. CONCLUSIONS:Sms1 deficiency decreases sphingomyelin, but dramatically increases the levels of glycosphingolipids. Atherosclerosis in Sms1(-/-)?Ldlr(-/-) mice is significantly decreased.
Project description:Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) 2 is the synthetic enzyme of sphingomyelin (SM), which regulates the fluidity and microdomain structure of the plasma membrane. We investigated the effect of SMS2 deficiency on dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced murine colitis, and found suppression of DSS-induced inflammation in SMS2 deficient (SMS2-/-) mice. Results provide insight into the role of SMS2 in inflammation. Overall design: Colon epithelial cells were isolated from wild-type (WT) and SMS2 knockout mice at day 2 after initiation of DSS treatment or untreated controls. Two independent biologic replicates were performed.
Project description:Lipid microdomains or caveolae, small invaginations of plasma membrane, have emerged as important elements for lipid uptake and glucose homeostasis. Sphingomyelin (SM) is one of the major phospholipids of the lipid microdomains. In this study, we investigated the physiological function of sphingomyelin synthase 2 (SMS2) using SMS2 knock-out mice, and we found that SMS2 deficiency prevents high fat diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Interestingly, in the liver of SMS2 knock-out mice, large and mature lipid droplets were scarcely observed. Treatment with siRNA for SMS2 also decreased the large lipid droplets in HepG2 cells. Additionally, the siRNA of SMS2 decreased the accumulation of triglyceride in liver of leptin-deficient (ob/ob) mice, strongly suggesting that SMS2 is involved in lipid droplet formation. Furthermore, we found that SMS2 exists in lipid microdomains and partially associates with the fatty acid transporter CD36/FAT and with caveolin 1, a scaffolding protein of caveolae. Because CD36/FAT and caveolin 1 exist in lipid microdomains and are coordinately involved in lipid droplet formation, SMS2 is implicated in the modulation of the SM in lipid microdomains, resulting in the regulation of CD36/FAT and caveolae. Here, we established new cell lines, in which we can completely distinguish SMS2 activity from SMS1 activity, and we demonstrated that SMS2 could convert ceramide produced in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane into SM. Our findings demonstrate the novel and dynamic regulation of lipid microdomains via conformational changes in lipids on the plasma membrane by SMS2, which is responsible for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Project description:Serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) is the first and rate-limiting enzyme of the de novo biosynthetic pathway of sphingomyelin (SM). Both SPT and SM have been implicated in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, the development of which is driven by macrophages; however, the role of SPT in macrophage-mediated atherogenesis is unknown. To address this issue, we have analyzed macrophage inflammatory responses and reverse cholesterol transport, 2 key mediators of atherogenesis, in SPT subunit 2-haploinsufficient (Sptlc2(+/-)) macrophages. We found that Sptlc2(+/-) macrophages have significantly lower SM levels in plasma membrane and lipid rafts. This reduction not only impaired inflammatory responses triggered by TLR4 and its downstream NF-?B and MAPK pathways, but also enhanced reverse cholesterol transport mediated by ABC transporters. LDL receptor-deficient (Ldlr(-/-)) mice transplanted with Sptlc2(+/-) bone marrow cells exhibited significantly fewer atherosclerotic lesions after high-fat and high-cholesterol diet feeding. Additionally, Ldlr(-/-) mice with myeloid cell-specific Sptlc2 haploinsufficiency exhibited significantly less atherosclerosis than controls. These findings suggest that SPT could be a novel therapeutic target in atherosclerosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Progranulin is a circulating protein that modulates inflammation and is found in atherosclerotic lesions. Here we determined whether inflammatory cell-derived progranulin impacts atherosclerosis development. METHODS:Ldlr-/- mice were transplanted with bone marrow from wild-type (WT) or Grn-/- (progranulin KO) mice (referred to as Tx-WT and Tx-KO, respectively). RESULTS:After 10 weeks of high-fat diet feeding, both groups displayed similarly elevated plasma levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Despite abundant circulating levels of progranulin, the size of atherosclerotic lesions in Tx-KO mice was increased by 47% in aortic roots and by 62% in whole aortas. Aortic root lesions in Tx-KO mice had increased macrophage content and larger necrotic cores, consistent with more advanced lesions. Progranulin staining was markedly reduced in the lesions of Tx-KO mice, indicating little or no uptake of circulating progranulin. Mechanistically, cultured progranulin-deficient macrophages exhibited increased lysosome-mediated exophagy of aggregated low-density lipoproteins resulting in increased cholesterol uptake and foam cell formation. CONCLUSIONS:We conclude that hematopoietic progranulin deficiency promotes diet-induced atherosclerosis in Ldlr-/- mice, possibly due to increased exophagy-mediated cholesterol uptake. Circulating progranulin was unable to prevent the increased lesion development, consistent with the importance of progranulin acting via cell-autonomous or local effects.
Project description:Sphingomyelin synthase (SMS) sits at the crossroads of sphingomyelin (SM), ceramide, diacylglycerol (DAG) metabolism. It utilizes ceramide and phosphatidylcholine as substrates to produce SM and DAG, thereby regulating lipid messengers which play a role in cell survival and apoptosis. Furthermore, its product SM has been implicated in atherogenic processes such as retention of lipoproteins in the blood vessel intima. There are two mammalian sphingomyelin synthases: SMS1 and SMS2. SMS1 is found exclusively in the Golgi at steady state, whereas SMS2 exists in the Golgi and plasma membrane. Conventional motifs responsible for protein targeting to the plasma membrane or Golgi are either not present in, or unique to, SMS1 and SMS2. In this study, we examined how SMS1 and SMS2 achieve their respective subcellular localization patterns. Brefeldin A treatment prevented SMS1 and SMS2 from exiting the ER, demonstrating that they transit through the classical secretory pathway. We created truncations and chimeras of SMS1 and SMS2 to define their targeting signals. We found that SMS1 contains a C-terminal Golgi targeting signal and that SMS2 contains a C-terminal plasma membrane targeting signal.