Identification of dihydroceramide desaturase as a direct in vitro target for fenretinide.
ABSTRACT: The dihydroceramide desaturase (DES) enzyme is responsible for inserting the 4,5-trans-double bond to the sphingolipid backbone of dihydroceramide. We previously demonstrated that fenretinide (4-HPR) inhibited DES activity in SMS-KCNR neuroblastoma cells. In this study, we investigated whether 4-HPR acted directly on the enzyme in vitro. N-C8:0-d-erythro-dihydroceramide (C(8)-dhCer) was used as a substrate to study the conversion of dihydroceramide into ceramide in vitro using rat liver microsomes, and the formation of tritiated water after the addition of the tritiated substrate was detected and used to measure DES activity. NADH served as a cofactor. The apparent K(m) for C(8)-dhCer and NADH were 1.92 ± 0.36 ?m and 43.4 ± 6.47 ?m, respectively; and the V(max) was 3.16 ± 0.24 and 4.11 ± 0.18 nmol/min/g protein. Next, the effects of 4-HPR and its metabolites on DES activity were investigated. 4-HPR was found to inhibit DES in a dose-dependent manner. At 20 min, the inhibition was competitive; however, longer incubation times demonstrated the inhibition to be irreversible. Among the major metabolites of 4-HPR, 4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-oxo-4-HPR) showed the highest inhibitory effect with substrate concentration of 0.5 ?m, with an IC(50) of 1.68 ?m as compared with an IC(50) of 2.32 ?m for 4-HPR. N-(4-Methoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-MPR) and 4-Oxo-N-(4-methoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-oxo-4-MPR) had minimal effects on DES activity. A known competitive inhibitor of DES, C(8)-cyclopropenylceramide was used as a positive control. These studies define for the first time a direct in vitro target for 4-HPR and suggest that inhibitors of DES may be used as therapeutic interventions to regulate ceramide desaturation and consequent function.
Project description:The therapeutic capacity of fenretinide (N-[4-hydroxyphenyl] retinamide; 4-HPR) has been demonstrated for several conditions, including cancer, obesity, diabetes, and ocular disease. Yet, the mechanisms of action for its pleiotropic effects are still undefined. We hypothesized that investigation of two of the major physiological metabolites of fenretinide, N-[4-methoxyphenyl]retinamide (MPR) and 4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (3-keto-HPR), might begin to resolve the multifaceted effects of this synthetic retinoid. We analyzed the effects of fenretinide, MPR, 3-keto-HPR, and the non-retinoid RBP4 ligand A1120, on the activity of known targets of fenretinide, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) and dihydroceramide ?4-desaturase 1 (DES1) in ARPE-19 cells, and purified recombinant mouse beta-carotene oxygenase 1 (BCO1) in vitro. Lipids and retinoids were extracted and quantified by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and reversed phase HPLC, respectively. The data demonstrate that while fenretinide is an inhibitor of the activities of these three enzymes, that 3-keto-HPR is a more potent inhibitor of all three enzymes, potentially mediating most of the in vivo beneficial effects of fenretinide. However, while MPR does not affect SCD1 and DES1 activity, it is a potent specific inhibitor of BCO1. We conclude that a deeper understanding of the mechanisms of action of fenretinide and its metabolites provides new avenues for therapeutic specificity. For example, administration of 3-keto-HPR instead of fenretinide may be preferential if inhibition of SCD1 or DES1 activity is the goal (cancer), while MPR may be better for BCO1 modulation (carotenoid metabolism). Continued investigation of fenretinide metabolites in the context of fenretinide's various therapeutic uses will begin to resolve the pleotropic nature of this compound.
Project description:High plasma levels of fenretinide [N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR)] were associated with improved outcome in a phase II clinical trial. Low bioavailability of 4-HPR has been limiting its therapeutic applications. This study characterized metabolism of 4-HPR in humans and mice, and to explore the effects of ketoconazole, an inhibitor of CYP3A4, as a modulator to increase 4-HPR plasma levels in mice and to increase the low bioavailability of 4-HPR.4-HPR metabolites were identified by mass spectrometric analysis and levels of 4-HPR and its metabolites [N-(4-methoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-MPR) and 4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-oxo-4-HPR)] were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Kinetic analysis of enzyme activities and the effects of enzyme inhibitors were performed in pooled human and pooled mouse liver microsomes, and in human cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 isoenzyme microsomes. In vivo metabolism of 4-HPR was inhibited in mice.Six 4-HPR metabolites were identified in the plasma of patients and mice. 4-HPR was oxidized to 4-oxo-4-HPR, at least in part via human CYP3A4. The CYP3A4 inhibitor ketoconazole significantly reduced 4-oxo-4-HPR formation in both human and mouse liver microsomes. In two strains of mice, co-administration of ketoconazole with 4-HPR in vivo significantly increased 4-HPR plasma concentrations by > twofold over 4-HPR alone and also increased 4-oxo-4-HPR levels.Mice may serve as an in vivo model of human 4-HPR pharmacokinetics. In vivo data suggest that the co-administration of ketoconazole at normal clinical doses with 4-HPR may increase systemic exposure to 4-HPR in humans.
Project description:A simple and accurate high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed for the determination of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (fenretinide, 4-HPR) and its metabolites, 4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-oxo-4-HPR) and N-(4-methoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-MPR), in human plasma. Plasma samples were prepared using protein precipitation with ethanol. Chromatographic separation of the three analytes and N-(4-ethoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-EPR), an internal standard, was achieved on a Zorbax SB-C18 column (3.5?m, 50×2.1mm) using gradient elution with the mobile phase of 0.1% formic acid in water and acetonitrile (pH* 2.4) at a flow rate of 0.5mL/min. Electrospray ionization (ESI) mass spectrometry was operated in the positive ion mode with multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). The calibration curves obtained were linear over the concentration range of 0.2-50ng/mL with a lower limit of quantification of 0.2ng/mL. The relative standard deviation of intra-day and inter-day precision was below 7.64%, and the accuracy ranged from 94.92 to 105.43%. The extraction recoveries were found to be higher than 90.39% and no matrix effect was observed. The analytes were stable for the durations of the stability studies. The validated method was successfully applied to the analyses of the pharmacokinetic study for patients treated with 4-HPR in a clinical trial.
Project description:N-(4-Hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) is considered to be the most effective chemopreventive retinoid for chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis in rats. However, the mechanism of 4-HPR action in mammary cells is poorly understood. In the present study we examined the metabolism of 4-HPR in the mouse mammary gland in organ culture. Mammary glands excised from BALB/c mice were incubated with 4-HPR in the presence of insulin, prolactin and steroid hormones for 6 days. The glands were extracted with chloroform/methanol (2:1, v/v), and the metabolites were separated on a reversed-phase h.p.l.c. column. Three metabolites were separated in addition to 4-HPR; one of the metabolites, M2, was co-eluted with 13-cis-4-HPR, M3 was co-eluted with N-(4-methoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-MPR) and M1 remains unidentified. There appeared to be some hormonal regulation in the distribution of metabolites in the glands. Increased levels of 4-MPR and M1 were observed in insulin-plus-prolactin-treated glands as compared with the glands incubated with steroid hormones. Furthermore, it was observed that M1 isolated from the livers of 4-HPR-treated rats competed for the cellular retinoic acid-binding protein (CRABP) sites; however, 4-HPR did not bind to CRABP. These results indicate that mouse mammary gland can metabolize 4-HPR and that the metabolites which compete for CRABP sites may have physiological significance in the retinoid inhibition of mammary carcinogenesis.
Project description:4-(Hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR) is a synthetic retinoid with a strong apoptotic effect towards different cancer cell lines in vitro, and it is currently tested in clinical trials. Increases of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and modulation of endogenous sphingolipid levels are well-described events observed upon 4-HPR treatment, but there is still a lack of understanding of their relationship and their contribution to cell death. LC-MS analysis of sphingolipids revealed that in human leukemia CCRF-CEM and Jurkat cells, 4-HPR induced dihydroceramide but not ceramide accumulation even at sublethal concentrations. Myriocin prevented the 4-HPR-induced dihydroceramide accumulation, but it did not prevent the loss of viability and increase of intracellular ROS production. On the other hand, ascorbic acid, Trolox, and vitamin E reversed 4-HPR effects on cell death but not dihydroceramide accumulation. NDGA, described as a lipoxygenase inhibitor, exerted a significantly higher antioxidant activity than vitamin E and abrogated 4-HPR-mediated ROS. It did not however rescue cellular viability. Taken together, this study demonstrates that early changes observed upon 4-HPR treatment, i.e., sphingolipid modulation and ROS production, are mechanistically independent events. Furthermore, the results indicate that 4-HPR-driven cell death may occur even in the absence of dihydroceramide or ROS accumulation. These observations should be taken into account for an improved design of drug combinations.
Project description:A2780 human ovarian carcinoma cells respond to treatment with the synthetic retinoid N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (HPR) with the production of dihydroceramide and with a concomitant reduction of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. The derived HPR-resistant clonal cell line, A2780/HPR, is less responsive to HPR in terms of dihydroceramide generation. In this report, we show that the production of sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) is significantly higher in A2780/HPR versus A2780 cells due to an increased sphingosine kinase (SK) activity and SK-1 mRNA and protein levels. Treatment of A2780 and A2780/HPR cells with a potent and highly selective pharmacological SK inhibitor effectively reduced S1P production and resulted in a marked reduction of cell proliferation. Moreover, A2780/HPR cells treated with a SK inhibitor were sensitized to the cytotoxic effect of HPR, due to an increased dihydroceramide production. On the other hand, the ectopic expression of SK-1 in A2780 cells was sufficient to induce HPR resistance in these cells. Challenge of A2780 and A2780/HPR cells with agonists and antagonists of S1P receptors had no effects on their sensitivity to the drug, suggesting that the role of SK in HPR resistance in these cells is not mediated by the S1P receptors. These data clearly demonstrate a role for SK in determining resistance to HPR in ovarian carcinoma cells, due to its effect in the regulation of intracellular ceramide/S1P ratio, which is critical in the control of cell death and proliferation.
Project description:N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR, fenretinide) is a synthetic retinoid with potent pro-apoptotic activity against several types of cancer, but little is known regarding mechanisms leading to chemoresistance. Ceramide and, more recently, other sphingolipid species (e.g., dihydroceramide and dihydrosphingosine) have been implicated in 4-HPR-mediated tumor cell death. Because sphingolipid metabolism has been reported to be altered in drug-resistant tumor cells, we studied the implication of sphingolipids in acquired resistance to 4-HPR based on an acute lymphoblastic leukemia model.CCRF-CEM cell lines resistant to 4-HPR were obtained by gradual selection. Endogenous sphingolipid profiles and in situ enzymatic activities were determined by LC/MS, and resistance to 4-HPR or to alternative treatments was measured using the XTT viability assay and annexin V-FITC/propidium iodide labeling.No major crossresistance was observed against other antitumoral compounds (i.e. paclitaxel, cisplatin, doxorubicin hydrochloride) or agents (i.e. ultra violet C, hydrogen peroxide) also described as sphingolipid modulators. CCRF-CEM cell lines resistant to 4-HPR exhibited a distinctive endogenous sphingolipid profile that correlated with inhibition of dihydroceramide desaturase. Cells maintained acquired resistance to 4-HPR after the removal of 4-HPR though the sphingolipid profile returned to control levels. On the other hand, combined treatment with sphingosine kinase inhibitors (unnatural (dihydro)sphingosines ((dh)Sph)) and glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor (PPMP) in the presence or absence of 4-HPR increased cellular (dh)Sph (but not ceramide) levels and were highly toxic for both parental and resistant cells.In the leukemia model, acquired resistance to 4-HPR is selective and persists in the absence of sphingolipid profile alteration. Therapeutically, the data demonstrate that alternative sphingolipid-modulating antitumoral strategies are suitable for both 4-HPR-resistant and sensitive leukemia cells. Thus, whereas sphingolipids may not be critical for maintaining resistance to 4-HPR, manipulation of cytotoxic sphingolipids should be considered a viable approach for overcoming resistance.
Project description:Dihydroceramide desaturases are evolutionarily conserved enzymes that convert dihydroceramide (dhCer) to ceramide (Cer). While elevated Cer levels cause neurodegenerative diseases, the neuronal activity of its direct precursor, dhCer, remains unclear. We show that knockout of the fly dhCer desaturase gene, infertile crescent (ifc), results in larval lethality with increased dhCer and decreased Cer levels. Light stimulation leads to ROS increase and apoptotic cell death in ifc-KO photoreceptors, resulting in activity-dependent neurodegeneration. Lipid-containing Atg8/LC3-positive puncta accumulate in ifc-KO photoreceptors, suggesting lipophagy activation. Further enhancing lipophagy reduces lipid droplet accumulation and rescues ifc-KO defects, indicating that lipophagy plays a protective role. Reducing dhCer synthesis prevents photoreceptor degeneration and rescues ifc-KO lethality, while supplementing downstream sphingolipids does not. These results pinpoint that dhCer accumulation is responsible for ifc-KO defects. Human dhCer desaturase rescues ifc-KO larval lethality, and rapamycin reverses defects caused by dhCer accumulation in human neuroblastoma cells, suggesting evolutionarily conserved functions. This study demonstrates a novel requirement for dhCer desaturase in neuronal maintenance in vivo and shows that lipophagy activation prevents activity-dependent degeneration caused by dhCer accumulation.
Project description:Ceramide has been suggested to be a potent bioactive lipid involved in cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis. Its precursor, dihydroceramide, does not affect these processes. The truncated dihydroceramide analogues N-hexanoyl-[4,5-3H]-d-erythro-sphinganine and N-[1-14C]-hexanoyl-d-erythro-sphinganine were used to study the conversion of dihydroceramide into ceramide by rat hepatocytes. The formation of tritiated water after the addition of the tritiated substrate to intact and permeabilized rat hepatocytes was followed to measure enzyme activity. Desaturation was severely depressed in permeabilized hepatocytes, suggesting loss of cofactors. Of a variety of cofactors tested in the permeabilized cells, NADPH appeared to be stimulatory, pointing to the involvement of a desaturase. In agreement with this, the addition of inhibitors and redox effectors known to affect Delta9-stearoyl-CoA desaturase and Delta1-plasmanyl-ethanolamine desaturase to intact cells resulted in severe inhibition of the desaturation. When added to permeabilized cells fortified with NADPH, these compounds counteracted the NADPH stimulation. The enzyme system was further studied in broken cells. On cell fractionation, the activity was recovered in the microsomal fraction. The results indicate that the conversion of dihydroceramide into ceramide is ctalysed by a desaturase and not by a dehydrogenase or an oxidase as was generally believed.
Project description:We and others have shown that stresses, including photodynamic therapy (PDT), can disrupt the de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway, leading to changes in the levels of sphingolipids, and subsequently, modulation of cell death. The de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway includes a ceramide synthase-dependent reaction, giving rise to dihydroceramide, which is then converted in a desaturase-dependent reaction to ceramide. In this study we tested the hypothesis that combining Foscan-mediated PDT with desaturase inhibitor fenretinide (HPR) enhances cancer cell killing. We discovered that by subjecting SCC19 cells, a human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell line, to PDT+HPR resulted in enhanced accumulation of C16-dihydroceramide, not ceramide. Concomitantly, mitochondrial depolarization was enhanced by the combined treatment. Enhanced activation of caspase-3 after PDT+HPR was inhibited by FB. Enhanced clonogenic cell death after the combination was sensitive to FB, as well as Bcl2- and caspase inhibitors. Treatment of mouse SCCVII squamous cell carcinoma tumors with PDT+HPR resulted in improved long-term tumor cures. Overall, our data showed that combining PDT with HPR enhanced apoptotic cancer cell killing and antitumor efficacy of PDT. The data suggest the involvement of the de novo sphingolipid biosynthesis pathway in enhanced apoptotic cell killing after PDT+HPR, and identify the combination as a novel more effective anticancer treatment than either treatment alone.