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Biochimica et biophysica acta

Calcium and mitochondrial metabolism in ceramide-induced cardiomyocyte death.


PMID 23602992

Abstract

Ceramides are important intermediates in the biosynthesis and degradation of sphingolipids that regulate numerous cellular processes, including cell cycle progression, cell growth, differentiation and death. In cardiomyocytes, ceramides induce apoptosis by decreasing mitochondrial membrane potential and promoting cytochrome-c release. Ca(2+) overload is a common feature of all types of cell death. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ceramides on cytoplasmic Ca(2+) levels, mitochondrial function and cardiomyocyte death. Our data show that C2-ceramide induces apoptosis and necrosis in cultured cardiomyocytes by a mechanism involving increased Ca(2+) influx, mitochondrial network fragmentation and loss of the mitochondrial Ca(2+) buffer capacity. These biochemical events increase cytosolic Ca(2+) levels and trigger cardiomyocyte death via the activation of calpains.