Sphingoid bioregulators in the differentiation of cells of neural origin

J Lipid Mediat Cell Signal. 1996 Sep;14(1-3):263-75. doi: 10.1016/0929-7855(96)00535-4.


The involvement of ceramide in the differentiation of two neuroblastoma cell lines, Neuro2a and SH-SY5Y, and cerebellar granule cells in primary culture was investigated. The following results were obtained: (a) the cellular content of ceramide markedly increased with induced differentiation of Neuro2a cells (inducers: RA, FCS deprivation), SH-SY5Y cells (inducers: RA, PMA), and spontaneous differentiation of cerebellar granule cells; (b) all the investigated cells in the differentiated form displayed a higher ability to produce ceramide from exogenously administered [3H]Sph-SM and expressed a higher content of neutral sphingomyelinase and, in the case of cerebellar granule cells, also of acidic sphingomyelinase; (c) inhibition of ceramide biosynthesis by Fumonisin B1 blocked the process of differentiation in Neuro2a and cerebellar granule cells; and (d) treatments capable of enhancing ceramide level (administration of sphingosine or C2-Ceramide) induced differentiation in both Neuro2a and SH-SY5Y cells. The data obtained support the notion that ceramide plays a general biomodulatory role in neural cell differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Ceramides / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology*
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Ceramides
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase