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    Over 11 million people in the United States alone have some form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Oxidative stress, cell death, and the degeneration of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells contribute to AMD pathology. Recent evidence suggests that ceramide (Cer), a cellular sphingolipid mediator that acts as a second messenger to induce apoptosis, might play a role in RPE cell death. The lysosomal breakdown of Cer by acid ceramidase [N-acylsphingosine amidohydrolase (ASAH)1] into sphingosine (Sph) is the major source for Sph 1-phosphate production, which has an opposing role to Cer and provides cytoprotection. Here, we investigated the role of Cer in human RPE-derived ARPE19 cells under hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress, and show that Cer and hexosyl-Cer levels increase in the oxidatively stressed ARPE19 cells, which can be prevented by overexpression of lysosomal ASAH1. This study demonstrates that oxidative stress generates sphingolipid death mediators in retinal cells and that induction of ASAH1 could rescue retinal cells from oxidative stress by hydrolyzing excess Cers. Copyright © 2019 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


    Eriko Sugano, Genea Edwards, Saikat Saha, Lynda A Wilmott, Richard C Grambergs, Koushik Mondal, Hui Qi, Megan Stiles, Hiroshi Tomita, Nawajes Mandal. Overexpression of acid ceramidase (ASAH1) protects retinal cells (ARPE19) from oxidative stress. Journal of lipid research. 2019 Jan;60(1):30-43

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    PMID: 30413652

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