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Role of ceramide in TNF-alpha-induced impairment of endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in coronary arteries. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2002 Nov;283(5):H1785-94



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0036838876   59 Citations


The present study tested the hypothesis that ceramide, a sphingomylinase metabolite, serves as an second messenger for tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) to stimulate superoxide production, thereby decreasing endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in coronary arteries. In isolated bovine small coronary arteries, TNF-alpha (1 ng/ml) markedly attenuated vasodilator responses to bradykinin and A-23187. In the presence of N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, TNF-alpha produced no further inhibition on the vasorelaxation induced by these vasodilators. With the use of 4,5-diaminofluorescein diacetate fluorescence imaging analysis, bradykinin was found to increase nitric oxide (NO) concentrations in the endothelium of isolated bovine small coronary arteries, which was inhibited by TNF-alpha. Pretreatment of the arteries with desipramine (10 microM), an inhibitor of acidic sphingomyelinase, tiron (1 mM), a superoxide scavenger, and polyethylene glycol-superoxide dismutase (100 U/ml) largely restored the inhibitory effect of TNF-alpha on bradykinin- and A-23187-induced vasorelaxation. In addition, TNF-alpha activated acidic sphingomyelinase and increased ceramide levels in coronary endothelial cells. We conclude that TNF-alpha inhibits NO-mediated endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in small coronary arteries via sphingomyelinase activation and consequent superoxide production in endothelial cells.

Author List

Zhang DX, Yi FX, Zou AP, Li PL


David X. Zhang MD, PhD Associate Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Antineoplastic Agents
Coronary Vessels
Endothelium, Vascular
Free Radical Scavengers
Free Radicals
Nitric Oxide
Polyethylene Glycols
Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase
Superoxide Dismutase
Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
jenkins-FCD Prod-482 91ad8a360b6da540234915ea01ff80e38bfdb40a