Altered hepatic sphingolipid metabolism in insulin resistant mice: Role of advanced glycation endproducts

Raffaella Mastrocola*, Federica Dal Bello, Alessia S. Cento, Katrien Gaens, Debora Collotta, Manuela Aragno, Claudio Medana, Massimo Collino, Kristiaan Wouters, Casper G. Schalkwijk

*Corresponding author for this work

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High plasma levels of the sphingolipid intermediates ceramide (Cer) and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) are suggested to be involved in the development of insulin resistance (IR). Recent evidence indicates that advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) can alter the sphingolipids metabolism equilibrium. Since enzymes responsible for sphingolipid rheostat maintenance are highly expressed in liver, we thus investigated whether AGEs accumulation can affect hepatic sphingolipids metabolism in insulin resistant mice. Two different models of IR were examined: genetically diabetic LeptrDb-/- (DbDb) and diet-induced insulin resistant C57Bl/6J mice fed a 60% trans-fat diet (HFD). In addition, a group of HFD mice was supplemented with the anti-AGEs compound pyridoxamine. AGEs were evaluated in the liver by western blotting. Cer and S1P were measured by UHPLC-MS/MS. The expression of RAGE and of enzymes involved in sphingolipid metabolism were assessed by RT-PCR and western blotting. HepG2 cells were used to study the effect of the major AGE N epsilon(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML)-albumin on sphingolipid metabolism and the role of the receptor of AGEs (RAGE). High levels of AGEs and RAGE were detected in the liver of both DbDb and HFD mice in comparison to controls. The expression of enzymes of sphingolipid metabolism was altered in both models, accompanied by increased levels of Cer and S1P. Specifically, ceramide synthase 5 and sphingosine kinase 1 were increased, while neutral ceramidase was reduced. Pyridoxamine supplementation to HFD mice diminished hepatic AGEs and prevented alterations of sphingolipid metabolism and the development of IR. CML administration to HepG2 cells evoked alterations similar to those observed in vivo, that were in part mediated by the binding to RAGE. The present study shows a direct involvement of AGEs in alterations of sphingolipid metabolism associated to the development of IR. The modulation of sphingolipids metabolism through the prevention of AGEs accumulation by pyridoxamine may reduce the development of IR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-435
Number of pages11
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Sphngosine-1-Phosphate
  • Ceramide
  • Pyridoxamine
  • Advanced glycation end-products
  • Carboxymethyllysine
  • Insulin resistance

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