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Although ceramide accumulation in the heart is considered a major factor in promoting apoptosis and cardiac disorders, including heart failure, lipotoxicity and ischemia-reperfusion injury, little is known about ceramide's role in mediating changes in contractility. In the present study, we measured the functional consequences of acute exposure of isolated field-stimulated adult rat cardiomyocytes to C6-ceramide. Exogenous ceramide treatment depressed the peak amplitude and the maximal velocity of shortening without altering intracellular calcium levels or kinetics. The inactive ceramide analog C6-dihydroceramide had no effect on myocyte shortening or [Ca(2+)]i transients. Experiments testing a potential role for C6-ceramide-mediated effects on activation of protein kinase C (PKC) demonstrated evidence for signaling through the calcium-independent isoform, PKCε. We employed 2-dimensional electrophoresis and anti-phospho-peptide antibodies to test whether treatment of the cardiomyocytes with C6-ceramide altered myocyte shortening via PKC-dependent phosphorylation of myofilament proteins. Compared to controls, myocytes treated with ceramide exhibited increased phosphorylation of myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C), specifically at Ser273 and Ser302, and troponin I (cTnI) at sites apart from Ser23/24, which could be attenuated with PKC inhibition. We conclude that the altered myofilament response to calcium resulting from multiple sites of PKC-dependent phosphorylation contributes to contractile dysfunction that is associated with cardiac diseases in which elevations in ceramides are present.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s00395-014-0445-6

Type

Journal article

Journal

Basic Res Cardiol

Publication Date

2014

Volume

109

Keywords

Animals, Ceramides, Male, Myocytes, Cardiac, Myofibrils, Phosphorylation, Protein Kinase C, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Signal Transduction