Role of sphingosine kinases and sphingosine 1-phosphate in mediating adipogenesis


Recent Background: Development of obesity involves promotion of preadipocyte differrentiation. This study investigated the role that sphingosine kinases (SPHK) and ceramide-derived sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) play in adipocyte terminal differentiation. Materials and Methods: The mouse 3T3-L1 cell line was used as a model for adipogenesis. Cells were harvested at specific time points after initation of differentiation, and SPHK activity was measured. 3T3-L1 cells were treated with S1P and expression of early adipogenesis transcription markers was measured by real time PCR. The expression of S1P-receptors (S1PRs) during differentiation was measured. Results: SPHK activity is induced when 3T3-L1 cells are treated with insulin, dexamethasone, and isobutylmethylxanthine to induce differentiation. SPHK1 is active in preadipocytes and early in the differentiation process. Both SPHK1 and SPHK2 isozymes contribute to activity in differentiated adipocytes. Inhibition of SPHK1 attenuates adipocyte differentiation; however, extracellular S1P does not rescue the effect of SPHK1 inhibition on adipogenesis. Although treatment of preadipocytes with S1P induced message expression of the early adipogenesis transcription factor CC AAT/ binding proteinalpha, continued treatment did not fully support the development of differentiated adipocytes. Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors (S1PRs) are expressed in preadipocytes and message expression declines markedly during adipocyte differentiation. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that the contribution of SPHK and S1P to adipogenesis is mediated primarily through biphasic activation of SPHK1 and 2 with extracellular S1P and S1PRs playing little role during preadipocyte differentiation.

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Mastrandrea, L. (2013) Role of sphingosine kinases and sphingosine 1-phosphate in mediating adipogenesis. Journal of Diabetes Mellitus, 3, 52-61. doi: 10.4236/jdm.2013.32009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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