2018 Volume 41 Issue 5 Pages 797-805
Sphingolipids and their metabolic enzymes are implicated in ulcerative colitis. Ceramide kinase (CerK) catalyzes the phosphorylation of ceramide to ceramide-1-phosphate (C1P). Previous studies showed the activation of CerK by the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β, the C1P-induced up-regulation of prostanoids exerting protective effects against colitis, and the C1P-induced down-regulation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α. In order to elucidate CerK/C1P functions in colitis, we examined the severity of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis in wild-type (WT) and CerK deletion (CerK(−/−)) mice. Lethal responses were observed in C57BL/6 mice treated with DSS in dose- and time-dependent manners. The depletion of CerK enhanced DSS-induced lethal responses without affecting the onset of these responses. In colons from mice treated with 2.5% DSS for 10 d, epithelial damage was significantly enhanced by the depletion of CerK by day 5, whereas decreases in occluding and E-cadherin levels were similar in both mice. On day 5, the DSS treatment increased spleen weights and colonic levels of cyclooxygenase-2, but not cytosolic phospholipase A2α, and induced a contractile dysfunction in the colons of both mice. The DSS-induced increase in the damage activity index score between days 5 and 10 was slightly enhanced and the decrease in this score from day 10 was slower in CerK(−/−) mice than in WT mice. On day 7 after the DSS treatment, spleen weights slightly decreased and increased in WT and CerK(−/−) mice, respectively. These results indicate that the depletion of CerK enhances the pathology of colitis and lethal responses in DSS-treated mice.