Cerulein-Induced Acute Pancreatitis Affects Sphingomyelin Signaling Pathway in Rats

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Acute pancreatitis (AP) is a common and severe gastrointestinal inflammatory disease with poorly understood pathogenesis. We adopted cerulein-induced pancreatitis, a well-established rat model shearing similarities with human AP, to determine the disease background. Special interest was placed on sphingolipids, because their signaling pathways are involved in many pathological states including hepatic steatosis, heart infarction, or pancreatic origin type 1 diabetes.


Sphingolipid levels in the blood and pancreas were determined by the means of chromatography (thin-layer and high-performance liquid chromatography).


We found that AP leads to activation of ceramide de novo synthesis pathway, as evidenced by a significant increment in sphinganine, that is, ceramide synthesis precursor, content (+3.8-fold). Surprisingly, despite the reported growth in sphinganine concentration, we observed a reduced (−38%) ceramide level in the pancreas of rats with AP. The results could be explained by subsequent hydrolysis of ceramide to other secondary messengers, that is, sphingosine (+4-fold) or sphingosine-1-phosphate (+3-fold).


Because it is known that sphingosine-1-phosphate and some of its analogs could have a protective role against AP complications, our findings may contribute to elaboration of new therapeutic strategies in the management of this severe medical condition.

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