• Edema;
  • endothelial permeability;
  • ceramide;
  • nonapoptotic;
  • sphingosine-1-phosphate;
  • Ser/Thr kinase;
  • human microvascular endothelial cells
  • 1
    Ceramide is a lipid second messenger that was recently identified as mediator of pulmonary edema in vivo. Here, we investigated the effect of ceramide on the permeability of confluent endothelial cell monolayers.
  • 2
    In monolayers of bovine pulmonary artery and human microvascular pulmonary endothelial cells, incubation with C6-ceramide for 3 h elevated permeability in a concentration-dependent manner, whereas dihydroceramide was without effect.
  • 3
    After 3 h of incubation with ceramide, we found no signs of necrosis (release of lactate dehydrogenase, loss of thiazylyl blue reduction) or apoptosis (ssDNA, caspase-8 activity).
  • 4
    The increased endothelial permeability in response to ceramide was attenuated by the Ser/Thr protein kinase inhibitors K252a, K252b and H-7, as well as by the phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C inhibitor L108. Since in some systems sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) acts antagonistic to ceramide, the effect of S1P was studied. S1P transiently increased endothelial cell resistance, whether it was given together with ceramide or 90 min thereafter.
  • 5
    These data provide a novel example of the antagonism between S1P and ceramide. Our findings further suggest that ceramide alters vascular permeability by activation of pathways dependent on unidentified phospholipase C and Ser/Thr kinase isoenzymes.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2005) 145, 132–140. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0706173