Persistence of increased cholesteryl ester in human skin fibroblasts is caused by residual exogenous sphingomyelinase and is reversed by phospholipid liposomes.

Biochimica et biophysica acta

PubMedID: 1450209

Stein O, Oette K, Dabach Y, HOLLANDER G, Ben Naim M, Stein Y. Persistence of increased cholesteryl ester in human skin fibroblasts is caused by residual exogenous sphingomyelinase and is reversed by phospholipid liposomes. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1992;1165(2):153-9.
Human skin fibroblasts (HSF) were exposed to sphingomyelinase 50 or 5 mU/ml for 60 min, washed with 5 mM EDTA or 20% serum and with phosphate-buffered saline, and postincubated for 24 h in the presence of [14C]16:0 sphingomyelin (SP) liposomes. The recovery of up to 48% of label in the medium in ceramide provided evidence of persistence of sphingomyelinase activity. The rate of hydrolysis of [14C]16:0 SP remained the same irrespective of whether the liposomes were added immediately after the wash, or 3 or 6 h thereafter. In HSF labeled with [3H]cholesterol exposure to 50 mU/ml of sphingomyelinase for 60 min resulted in an increase in labeled cholesteryl ester (CE) at 6 and 24 h of postincubation. Addition of sphingomyelin liposomes reduced markedly the fraction of cellular labeled cholesteryl ester recovered after 24 h, while phosphatidylcholine liposomes were not effective. When the enzyme concentration had been reduced 5-20 fold the effect of sphingomyelin liposomes on cellular 3H-CE was evident already after 6 h of postincubation and some effect was seen also with phosphatidylcholine liposomes. Increase in the concentrations of SP liposomes to 150 micrograms/ml restored labeled cholesteryl ester to control values at 24 h. A significant reduction occurred also with 18:1 phosphatidylcholine liposomes but labeled cholesteryl ester remained 50-100% higher when compared with 18:1 or 18:2 SP. No correlation was seen between the rates of cholesteryl ester decrease and free cholesterol efflux into the medium. The inability to remove residual sphingomyelinase by regular washing procedures exaggerates and prolongs the recovery period of sphingomyelin during postincubation and delays the return of the cholesteryl ester pool to control levels. This can be counteracted by addition of phospholipid liposomes that can compete for the enzyme with the plasma membrane sphingomyelin and also substitute the hydrolyzed molecule in the plasma membrane to impede cholesterol flow to cell interior.